Hampton Bay Lighting For All Your Lighting Needs

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Hampton Bay Outdoor Lighting is the highest quality.

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Hampton Bay Lights are durable and safe.

Hampton Bays Lighting are made to deliver more than a beautiful glow to your home or outside attire. They realize that you require more than just simple lighting and that is why all of the lights that are created are made to look visually appealing for family and friends to admire for many years.

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Do Hampton Bay Lights Offer Fans?

With all of this discussion of all of the visual qualities with this company you could be wondering if they are able to offer fans with their light fixtures. Each fan that is created is tested carefully to ensure it will be a very dependable asset in your home and that it will never fail on you.

Before a product leaves the door they are checked for safety and also reliability. Nothing is released without knowing that it will hold up to Hampton Bay’s name and provide your family and friends a life long enjoyment of great quality lighting.

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Fear of the light: why we need darkness | Amanda Petrusich

The Long Read: Light pollution conceals true darkness from 80% of Europe and North America. What do we lose when we can no longer see the stars?

Every civilisation we know of has devised a system scientific, religious, what have you to make sense of the night sky. The mystery of whats up there, where it came from, and what it means has been inherited and puzzled over for generations. Those questions may be the most human ones we have.

Due to pervasive light pollution glare from excessive, misaimed and unshielded night lighting 80% of Europe and North America no longer experiences real darkness. For anyone living near a major metropolis, a satellite image of the Milky Way seems abstract: we understand it to be a document of something true, but our understanding is purely theoretical. In 1994, after a predawn earthquake cut power to most of Los Angeles, the Griffith Observatory received phone calls from spooked residents asking about the strange sky. What those callers were seeing were stars.

I grew up in a small town in the Hudson River valley, about an hour north of New York City. Like most children, I regarded the night sky (or what I could see of it) with wonder. I understood that nobody could say for sure what was out there. Little kids are often frustrated by the smallness of their lives as a child, you can conjure complex worlds, but in your own life, you are largely powerlessto make moves. Looking up, the tininess I felt was confirmed, but it no longer felt like a liability. If the night sky offers us one thing, it is a liberating sense of ourselves in perspective, and of the many things we can neither comprehend nor control.

I wish to know an entire heaven and an entire earth, Henry David Thoreau wrote in 1856. He understood those worlds as separate, but in some essential conversation with each other to receive one without the other was to misunderstand both. But what happens when mankind divorces itself from a true experience of the cosmos, separating from the vastness above, taming it by erasing it? How can we ever come to know a heaven we can barely see?

Darkness is a complicated thing to quantify, defined, as it is, by deficiency. In 2001, the amateur astronomer John Bortle devised a scale to help. His classifications range from inner-city sky (class 9), in which the only pleasing telescopic views are the moon, the planets, and a few of the brightest star clusters, to a sky so dark the Milky Way casts obvious diffuse shadows on the ground (class 1). Most North Americans and Europeans live under class 6 or 7 skies, in which the Milky Way is undetectable and the sky has been smudged by a vague, greyish-white hue. In that kind of night, a person can wander outside, unfold a garden chair, open a newspaper, and read the headlines, if not the stories.

In addition to the Bortle scale, scientists often use photodiode light sensors to measure and compare base levels of darkness by calculating the illuminance of the night sky as perceived by the human eye. Unihedrons Sky Quality Meter is the most popular instrument for this kind of work, in part because it is small enough to fit into your pocket and also because it connects to an online global database of user-submitted data. According to that database, Cherry Springs State Park an 82-acre park in a remote swath of rural Pennsylvania presently has the second darkest score listed. On the Bortle scale, Cherry Springs usually registers between 1 and 2. In 2008, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), a nonprofit organisation that establishes and supports dark-sky preserves around the world, designated it a gold-tier international dark sky park.

Earlier this year, I drove the six hours to Cherry Springs from New York to meet Chip Harrison, the parks manager, his wife, Maxine, and a park volunteer named Pam for a 4.30pm dinner of baked fish. Afterwards, Chip had promised, wed go and see stars.

Most children, right now, growing up in the US, will never see the Milky Way, Chip said while we waited for our main courses.

Their parents never saw it either, Maxine added.

You come to a place like Cherry Springs, youre gonna see four or five thousand stars, maybe more, he continued. Ive seen people who are fairly serious amateur astronomers, and they cant find their way around this night sky there are too many stars.

After supper, we drove to the park, arriving around sunset and unloading several bags of equipment from the trunk before setting out, together, into the blackness. White light isnt permitted on the astronomy grounds, but red-filtered light, which wont cause the rods of the eye to become overexposed and less efficient, is allowed, if not quite encouraged.

If you hear crunching, youre on the right path, Maxine announced over her shoulder. I only presumed she said it over her shoulder. The dark around us was compact, bottomless, sonorous and I was echo-locating poorly. I blinked city eyes. We crunched along a gravel path towards the astronomy field, where Chip was assembling an Orion SkyQuest telescope. The SkyQuest is stout but sizable, about eight inches in diameter, and ideal for locating deep-sky objects such as dim star clusters, nebulae and galaxies.

At the edge of the field, a former airstrip, killdeer birds cheeped eagerly, constantly; a woodcock sounded a burp-like call. It was four days after the new moon, and the sky was so black that even the tiny slice of visible moon felt like a bare bulb screwed into the ceiling of an interrogation chamber.

On a clear night, from the proper vantage, watching constellations emerge over Cherry Springs is like watching a freshly exposed photograph sink into a bath of developer, slowly becoming known to the eye. Pam pointed the telescope towards Jupiter, which had risen over the east end of the field. The four largest moons of Jupiter Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto were clearly visible through the lens. Galileo discovered these moons in 1610, in the skies above Padua. They were the first celestial bodies proven to be orbiting something other than Earth. With my face still pressed into the telescope, I gasped.

The US at night, 2012. Photograph: Planet Observer/Getty Images/Universal Images Group

Pam laughed. Usually when people look through the telescope, I point out the big wow items, like the planets, Saturn and Jupiter, some of the clusters, she said. Everybody looks at them and goes, Oh, my God. They go, Is that real?

Cherry Springs is located less than 300 miles inland from the US eastern seaboard, in a region the East Coast that contains 36% of the total US population and is lit up every night like a backstage makeup mirror. When pinpointed on a satellite image, Cherry Springs is in the middle of an uncharacteristically dark patch insulated, on all sides, by hundreds of thousands of acres of protected forest and perched atop the Allegheny Plateau, 700 metres (2,300 feet) above sea level. Most of the small towns surrounding the park are situated in valleys where outdoor light is already sparse. This unusual combination of factors explains, to a certain degree, how Cherry Springs became one of the darkest places in America.

Which isnt to say the sanctity of the sky here is not being encroached upon. In the last decade, a handful of energy companies have begun extracting natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shales underneath Pennsylvania via hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a much-reviled practice that involves the release of gas or petroleum via a high-pressure injection of fluid through a narrow shaft bored into the ground. In Potter County, where Cherry Springs is located, there are 40 active fracking sites. The work cycle in a gas field is nonstop: energy companies not only rig up colossal, stadium-style spotlights, they also burn off excess gas in open pits or through steel pipes, in a process known as flaring. From afar, a flare resembles a giant blowtorch; clusters of flares are visible on satellite images from space.

Chip who is exceedingly kind and mild-mannered, possessing the sort of preternatural calm seemingly required of park rangers has worked out an informal agreement with representatives from nearby wells, in which workers abstain from flaring at night during star parties, when amateur astronomers gather in Cherry Springs to observe and record astral phenomena, or when the park is hosting astronomy-related public programmes. But its chiefly a gentlemans agreement, reliant on neighbourly goodwill. At present, there are no light-pollution restrictions placed on energy companies by the state of Pennsylvania.

Gary Honis, an electrical engineer and astrophotographer based in Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania, has been visiting Cherry Springs for 25 years, since long before it was recognised internationally for its stargazing potential. Feeling disheartened by the bright skies in their area, his local astronomy group had pulled out an old air force map, a satellite map, that showed a dark area in Potter County. We compared that to a Pennsylvania road map, and it was Cherry Springs State Park. Thats how we found it, by looking at light-pollution maps. My first view was through a friends six-inch Dobsonian telescope, and it was of M51, the twin galaxies in Ursa Major, Honis said when we spoke on the telephone. It looked photographic. We never saw that back home.

Chip eventually came upon Honis, tented by foil, peering up at the heavens. The park had been closed for hours, but Honis convinced Chip to let him stick around and take some pictures. Their meeting was serendipitous. With Chips advocacy, the parks hours eventually changed to allow for visiting stargazers, who, with the proper permit, can now camp overnight on the astronomy field.

Since then, Honis has been outspoken about the effect fracking is having on the skies above Cherry Springs. Hes posted videos to YouTube often accompanied by ominous music he performs himself on his Moog Theremini linking fracking to declining sky-quality readings. The videos are convincing, showing, via time-lapse photography, how gas flares and unshielded drill-site lights are compromising the park for astronomers. We started doing sky quality meter readings of the night sky brightness in 2006, and since then, the skies over Cherry Springs have been getting much brighter, Honis said. When the fracking started, sky quality readings went very bad.

The gas flares of a fracking site illuminates a country road in California. Photograph: David McNew/Getty Images

The nocturnal world, of course, also generates its own light, and those deviations can affect dark-sky conditions. The National Park Service lists numerous natural sources: moonlight, starlight from individual stars and planets, the Milky Way (also called galactic light, or integrated starlight), zodiacal light (sunlight reflected off dust particles in the solar system), airglow (a faint aurora caused by radiation striking air molecules in the upper atmosphere), wildfire, lightning strikes and meteors. Atmospheric moisture or dust particles can refract or reflect that light, amplifying glow (deserts, for example, are low in moisture but high in dust; forests are the inverse). Air pollution makes it all worse.

On the night we ventured out in Cherry Springs, Maxine a former game warden, one of just a few women to hold that position in Pennsylvania had fixed her gaze towards the sky. We were quiet. Maxine was wearing a pair of dangly moon-and-stars earrings, which glinted in the starlight. This is where the word awesome comes from, she whispered.

In the 17th century, under the reign of the self-described Sun King, Louis XIV, tallow candles fashioned from rendered beef or mutton fat were placed in iron-framed glass boxes and strung above the streets of Paris. Lamplighters wandered the districts of the city at dusk, unlocking the boxes and igniting the wicks. Other places followed Pariss model, and candles eventually gave way to oil and then gas lamps.

By 1890, more than 175,000 electric streetlights had been installed in the US; there are now somewhere around 26m, which collectively cost American taxpayers about $6bn in annual energy costs. The idea at its inception was that street lighting would help officials of the state more effectively survey and control city streets after dark. Whether streetlights actually make anyone safer remains a contentious topic among scholars and city planners. Most studies fail to demonstrate an inarguable correlation between street lighting and decreases in traffic accidents or crime, although it feels wilfully obtuse to suggest that taking the dark way home is always just as safe.

Street lighting is undeniably pervasive, but it isnt the only culprit of our perpetually bright skies. Light pollution is aggravated by any kind of irresponsibly aimed outdoor lighting: stadium floodlights, illuminated billboards, futuristic Exxon stations beckoning tired drivers towards off-ramps with their neat rows of glowing pumps. Proper shielding and direction can mitigate the glare of these emanations which can be blinding and the International Dark-Sky Association publishes guidelines for easily modifying outdoor lighting to be more dark-sky friendly. But in most places, following the associations suggestions is optional. The right to light isnt easily denied, nor circumvented.

In recent years, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit and Los Angeles have been swapping the high-pressure sodium bulbs in their streetlights which produced puddles of gassy, orange-hued light, a grittily romantic flicker for comparably cost-effective LED bulbs. The temperature of sodium bulbs is usually around 2,200 Kelvin, which registers to the eye as warm. LED bulbs burn closer to 4,000 Kelvin and emit an intrusive, bluish glare. If you live in a major American city, it is now virtually impossible to spend any time at all outside and in the dark.

Chicago Photograph: Jim Richardson/Getty Images/National Geographic Creative

The new LED streetlights are almost universally described as unpleasant. New York is presently in the midst of its own retrofit, a colossal overhaul scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017. The bulbs last longer and will ultimately reduce energy use by up to 75%, according to the US Department of Energy. But after the new bulbs were installed in Windsor Terrace, a residential neighbourhood in Brooklyn, citizens reacted with disbelief. In an opinion piece for the New York Times, the novelist and Windsor Terrace local Lionel Shriver wrote: Although going half-blind at 58, I can read by the beam that the new lamp blasts into our front roomwithout tapping our own Con Ed service These lights are ugly. Theyre invasive. Theyre depressing. New York deserves better.

Susan Harder, the New York State representative of the International Dark-Sky Association and a board member of the Montauk Observatory in East Hampton, has been campaigning aggressively against the installation of LED streetlights in New York. We still think that God lives in the heavens, in part because the sky was so dynamic to ancient cultures, she explained when I asked her to explain how the problem goes beyond the bulbs themselves. How could you ignore a changing, moving night sky? It struck them with awe. They attributed all sorts of things to the night sky. Were going to lose that if towns and cities keep installing these LED streetlights.

Harder previously had a career as an art dealer but now works full time as a dark-sky activist. She has the kind of fast-talking, no-nonsense comportment that recalls Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday, and is, by all accounts, a formidable opponent. In 2006, a New York Times reporter described her as a virtual one-woman dark-sky mover and shaker, and characterised her particular approach to advocacy as a combination of sweet talk, cajoling and bullying.

The single biggest challenge facing dark-sky advocates such as Harder is working out a way to change our understanding of darkness as a nefarious force, a thing that needs to be avoided or controlled, if not vanquished entirely. What may seem like a logical and instinctive aversion our vision is impaired at night and we are therefore more vulnerable has been socially reinforced via so many avenues that its exhausting to even try to tally them up. From a very young age, we are taught that nighttime is when dubious things transpire. At best, night is considered a middling expanse (No occupation but sleepe, feed, and fart, as the Jacobean playwright and poet Thomas Middleton put it). At worst, it is terrifying.

In his book At Days Close: Night in Times Past, the historian A Roger Ekirch details the ways in which nearly every known civilisation figured darkness as a source of evil: Everywhere one looks in the ancient world, demons filled the night air, he writes. Even in our earliest folklore, night is a proxy for wickedness, worthy of trepidation. Christianity positioned God as a source of eternal and unblinking light, a corrective to spiritual darkness and chaos. Torches, candles, oil lamps, gas lamps, lightbulbs these were not only facilitators of productivity and examples of the extraordinary ingenuity of man, but also sacred talismans to ward off ever-encroaching night and the malevolence it supposedly enables.

Most historical reasons to fear darkness are now moot; our unease at night is more transcendental than pragmatic. In the US, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 67.5% of violent crimes actually occur during the daytime, between 6am and 6pm. Still, a kind of basic discomfort with darkness persists. Changing deeply ingrained cultural ideas about darkness is a complicated task. Its not just darkness we fear, its the vastness and loneliness of the universe, spreading out from here to God-knows-where.

I wrote to Ekirch to see how he understood the stakes of the battle to preserve the dark. At the least, we stand to forfeit age-old opportunities for human intimacy of the sort that darkness alone enhances not just by affording privacy but by drawing couples closer together physically and emotionally, he replied in an email. Then he quoted an anonymous early Italian essayist, who described darkness as its own lubricant for human communion: Darkness made it easy to tell all.

Ekirch also evoked the idea that, prior to the Industrial Revolution, the night sky itself was a source of inspiration [that] knew no bounds, all the more as vestiges of church and state, to name but two powerful institutions, receded in the darkness, he wrote. On a moonlit evening in Naples, Goethe felt overwhelmed by a feeling of infinite space. Exclaimed an English laborer in the 18th century as he treaded home from an alehouse: Would I had but as many fat bullocks as there are stars. To which, replied his companion, With all my heart, if I had but a meadow as large as the sky. Today, few modern critics of light pollution, I suspect, could put the case more passionately.

A few weeks before I visited Cherry Springs, I went with a couple of friends to a sensory deprivation chamber in Brooklyn. Formerly a component of psychological experiments and, on occasion, deployed as an interrogation technique sensory deprivation is now being reconfigured as a kind of bourgeois meditation aid: For $99 (75), you can float for an hour in 30cm or so of heavily salted mineral water (roughly 450kg of Epsom salts per tub), calibrated precisely to your body temperature, inside a sealed, soundproof, lightproof, womb-like chamber. The idea is to disappear a little. The stresses and expectations of a modern life seem to demand an antidote of, well, nothingness.

I was not a natural inhabitant of the tank. I spent the first 15 minutes karate-kicking the door open and then pulling it closed again mostly to make sure it would, in fact, still open and close. I pressed the button that turns the lights on and off approximately 50 times. I decided to stretch one hand out ostensibly to see if I could still see it in the dark; I could not and accidentally dribbled warm, salty water into my open eyes.

The Milky Way seen from Cherry Springs National Park, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Serge Pikhotskiy/Getty Images

Eventually, once I had tired myself out, I was able to consider the experience of pure darkness, unbroken even by starlight. I understood how people found it curative: theres a disassembling that occurs, a loosening of certain grips. But darkness, without the galactic punctuations of the night sky without stars and planets and moons feels more finite than infinite. It feels claustrophobic.

On my third night in Pennsylvania, I went back to the park by myself, after midnight. I stumbled on to the astronomy field, wearing a pair of pyjamas underneath my coat. My rental was the only car in the lot. It had been raining earlier that afternoon, and thick, heavy clouds now hung low in the atmosphere, obscuring the moon and almost all of the stars. It was as dark a place as Id ever been. There, shivering, I again felt something akin to genuine panic. When the brain is deprived of visual information when all external stimuli are washed out we are alone in new ways. I wondered, then, if the dark acted as a kind of Rorschach test: if our perception of it wasnt also a manifestation of our most profound fears. Whatever you conjure there, in the blackness, speaks to your innermost terrors.

When I got back to New York, I spoke to Matt Stanley, a colleague at the university where I teach. Stanley holds degrees in astronomy, religion, physics and the history of science. He leads a seminar called Achilles Shield: Mapping the Ancient Cosmos, and another called Understanding the Universe.

Ive found that probably 95% of my students come from either an urban or suburban environment, which means they can only see a dozen stars at night, and no planets, Stanley said. When you say the Milky Way to them, they imagine a spiral galaxy, which is fine, but thats not what the Milky Way looks like its a big, whitish smear across the sky. I have to do a lot of work to orient them to what human beings actually saw when they looked at the sky. They dont know that stars rise and set. Their minds explode.

An alarmist may wonder if light pollution is threatening the future of astronomy if the skies will eventually become so illuminated that well no longer be able to identify new celestial objects, given that we can barely see the ones we already know are there. Stanley said: The best astronomy nowadays is being done from space. When I did my astronomy degree, I never looked through a telescope. Now, you can imagine a world almost a dystopia where no human being has ever seen a celestial body with the naked eye, but we have fantastically sophisticated astronomy, because we do it all above the atmosphere. Its efficient, but it breaks with those initial questions: why does the sky behave like that?

That curiosity was the catalyst for centuries of intellectual and spiritual growth. Science, as we understand it, comes from this very old tradition of trying to understand what we saw in the night sky, Stanley said. Babylonian astronomy gave us time, later mathematics; astronomy is, in one way or another, central to every foundational philosophy we know. Our instinctive preoccupation with the content of the sky seems tangled up, somehow, with all those other inborn human desires: to know and be known. To feel cowed, sublimated. To wonder and to worship.

The experience of looking up at the sky thats what Kant uses to explain the sublime, Stanley said. In 1788, he said, There are two things that fill my heart with wonder. One is the moral sense within me, and the other is the order in the heavens above me. Thats an extraordinary feeling, and ineffable. You cant describe it, but once youve experienced it, you never forget it.

This is a version of an essay published in the Summer 2016 issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review

Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, or sign up to the long read weekly email here.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/23/why-we-need-darkness-light-pollution-stars

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It’s not just keeping you up. Light pollution is doing real damage. It’s time to act.

When an earthquake hit the San Fernando Valley in 1994, the power went out all over Los Angeles.

The quake struck just before dawn. And suddenly, phones started ringing at the local Griffith Observatory. People were worried because they thought the night sky looked strange.

Turns out, due to the power outage, these frightened Angelenos were simply seeing the stars for the first time!

“The stars were in fact so unfamiliar, they called us wondering what happened,” observatory Director Ed Krupp told the Los Angeles Times.

Sadly, because of light pollution, residents of Los Angeles aren’t alone in their shock over the real night sky anymore.

A U.S. Marines armored vehicle during a night operation in Afghanistan. Photo by Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images.

Light pollution is the brightening of the night sky by man-made sources.

It’s everything from street lights to outdoor lights on homes. And since the incandescent bulb was introduced more than 100 years ago, it’s been getting increasingly difficult to see the night sky.

Earth’s city lights. Image by Craig Mayhew and Robert Simmon, NASA GSFC.

As I was working on this story, I thought about the last time I could clearly see the stars. I remembered seeing the Big Dipper from the backyard of my childhood home, but that was years ago. And I couldn’t remember anything since.

Had it really been so long since I’d seen a clear view of the night sky? It’s actually pretty likely.

It’s estimated that nearly one-third of the human population, including 80% of Americans, can no longer see the Milky Way. That’s our home galaxy, whose spiral band of white stars resembles spilled milk.

The Lyrid meteor shower and the Milky Way in the clear night sky of Thanlyin, Myanmar. Photo by Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images.

Why is this starry absence so important to consider?

I wanted to see what I was missing, so I went to my local observatory, the Haggart Observatory at Clackamas Community College. Once a month, volunteers open the observatory’s large telescope and observation decks to the public.

When it was my turn, my group walked up the steep stairs to the first observation deck, then through a door in the floor to the top of the observatory.

It was pitch black. I couldn’t see my own hands, let alone anyone else in my group. We took turns stepping up to the eyepiece on the large telescope. It was one “Wow,” after another, as we each had a chance to see Saturn and her beautiful rings.

All at once, I understood why the sudden spray of stars likely alarmed the people of Southern California. It’s beautiful. It’s breathtaking. And there’s simply nothing else like it.

The Milky Way towers over U.S. Marines near their compound in Afghanistan. Photo by Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images.

When we can’t see the stars, we don’t just miss out on awe-inspiring natural beauty.

We also miss out on a fascinating, almost spiritual part of the human experience.

“To me, I think we’re robbing ourselves of our human soul that we’ve had for eons,” said Dawn Nilson, volunteer Dark Sky Preservation director for Portland’s Rose City Astronomers. “If you look at all the artwork going back thousands of years … there’s a relationship with the sky, with the stars, and our whole body’s built on it. I mean, where would Van Gogh have painted a starry night if he didn’t see a starry night?”

“The Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Just like other types of pollution, light pollution is something we should work to reduce.

“Being able to see the Milky Way, to see the stars, is incredibly important. But people don’t see that as important as say, pollution in a river that’s killing fish,” said Cheryl Ann Bishop, communications and public affairs director for the International Dark-Sky Association.

Like trash in the water and smog in the air, light pollution is taking a serious toll on many species of wildlife.

Male tree frogs croak at night as part of their mating behavior, but the glare from artificial lights is disrupting this breeding ritual and interfering with reproduction, which may lead to a drop in population. Many amphibians hunt after dusk, but they may stay hidden if their area is well-lit, adversely affecting the amount of food they can eat.

A tree frog sits on a branch in Maryland. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Birds are also adversely affected.

Mary Coolidge, BirdSafe campaign coordinator for the Audubon Society of Portland, Oregon, told me that most songbirds travel at night. It cuts down on turbulence, they can avoid predators, and they can use the moon and stars to navigate. But light pollution is starting to inhibit their migration patterns.

Cranes fly at dawn. Photo by Francois Nascimbeni/AFP/Getty Images.

“When they come to areas where there’s quite a bit of sky glow because of unshielded lighting in the city, that really drowns out those cues for them,” Coolidge said. And since many of the birds are attracted to light, streetlights and illuminated skyscrapers can be especially dangerous.

“There are stories of birds that … end up getting entrapped by light and circling a building, and circling, and circling, until they collapse from exhaustion.”

Birds fly past floodlights at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium in Chandigarh, India. Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images.

It’s not just animals, either our obsession with bright lights is also affecting human health.

Cities across the nation are replacing existing streetlights with LEDs, which are more energy-efficient and last longer. But LEDs have a high color temperature (around 4,000 to 5,000 Kelvin) and a high level of short-wavelength blue light. This can cause intense discomfort and severe glare and can actually be dangerous to walk or drive in at night.

The bright lights can also suppress melatonin, the hormone that controls our internal sleep-wake cycle. This can cause excessive sleepiness and impaired daytime function.

The moon behind a newly installed LED streetlight in Las Vegas. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

While the problem of light pollution is big and far-reaching, the fix is relatively simple.

To cut down our own contributions to light pollution and skyglow, we can each do a home audit of outdoor lighting.

“That’s the first thing people can do is look around their homes to make sure their lights are dark-sky friendly,” Bishop said. “One of the most important things is to make sure [lights] are fully shielded because a lot of lighting and a lot of security lighting … it’s not going down on the ground, where it’s actually needed; it’s going up in the sky, which serves no purpose and just wastes energy.”

Image via International Dark-Sky Association.

The International Dark-Sky Association estimates that 30% of outdoor lighting in the U.S. is wasted, going up into the sky instead of down on the ground, resulting in $3.3 billion in unnecessary energy expenditures and 21 million tons of carbon dioxide a year.

Why aren’t people doing this already? “The hardest part is that most people don’t know what they’re missing, so it’s not an issue to care about,” Nilson said.

This long-exposure photograph shows the Milky Way in the clear night sky at Ngwe Saung beach in Myanmar. Photo by Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images.

Whether we’re doing it for wildlife, our health, future generations, or everyday inspiration, the night sky is something worth fighting for.

Do yourself a favor this summer and find a place to stare at the night sky. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the beauty you see.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/its-not-just-keeping-you-up-light-pollution-is-doing-real-damage-its-time-to-act?c=tpstream

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CNN’s Reality Check Team looks at Clinton’s attacks on Trump’s business record

(CNN)Hillary Clinton traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Wednesday to take aim at Donald Trump’s business record, and CNN’s Reality Check Team put her statements and assertions to the test.

The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the speech and selected key statements, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it’s complicated.
    Reality Check: Clinton on Trump’s casinos filing for Chapter 11
    By Chris Isidore, CNN
    Standing in front of what was once a Trump casino, Clinton said that her opponent’s casinos filed for bankruptcy protection more often than any other big business.
    “No major company in America has filed Chapter 11 more often in the last 30 years than Trump’s casinos. So no, this is not normal behavior,” she said.
    Trump’s businesses have filed for bankruptcy four times — in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009. Each of the bankruptcies centered on his Atlantic City casino properties, although they included other businesses as well, such as the Trump Shuttle airline and the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
    All of them were Chapter 11 bankruptcies that allowed the businesses to keep operating while shedding the debt it owed to creditors, vendors, employees and others.
    According to an analysis by CNN of data dating back to 1981 provided by Bankruptcy.com, no other company has filed more often than the four times that Trump has filed during that period.
    Verdict: True.
    Reality Check: Clinton on Trump making products abroad
    By Tami Luhby, CNN
    Clinton took Trump to task for manufacturing Trump-branded products overseas at the same time as he lashes out at companies that move operations abroad.
    “So when Trump says he’s for working men and woman in America, but Trump furniture is made in Turkey, instead of Lakewood, New Jersey, that matters. Trump’s suits were made in Mexico, instead of Ashland, Pennsylvania. Trump’s lamps were made in China, not Altoona, Pennsylvania. He wants to make America great again — maybe he should start by actually making things in America,” she said.
    The Clinton campaign sent out links to Trump corporate press releases and news interviews that showed the origin of these products, but CNN research has also found that many items are listed as being made overseas.
    A 2014 press release from the Trump Home collection announced a partnership with Dorya International, a handcrafted furniture line. It notes that the entire production process occurs in Dorya’s facility in Turkey. Similarly, clicking on a Trump Home Lighting Collection link off www.trump.com takes one to an Amazon page featuring several of Trump’s lamps. The country of origin for many of them is listed as China.
    Also, several Trump suits listed on Amazon are described as being made in China. (That said, some are also made in America.)
    Trump has acknowledged his clothing line is made abroad. He told Fox News’ Chris Wallace in October that some of his clothes are made in Mexico and China, though he said he wanted them to be made here.
    CNNMoney also found that Donald J. Trump signature men’s dress shirts are made in China, Bangladesh or “imported,” meaning they were made abroad. And Harvard trade expert Robert Lawrence analyzed more than 800 items in the Ivanka Trump fashion line, which includes shoes, dresses, purses and scarves. All are “imported.”
    It’s true that at least some of Trump’s products, including clothing and furniture, are manufactured in other countries.
    Reality Check: Clinton on Trump’s numerous lawsuits
    By Kate Grise, CNN
    Clinton also said Trump has been involved in lawsuits at an unprecedented rate.
    “Donald Trump has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past 30 years. That’s one every three days, give or take. And today’s Wednesday, so he’s due for another one,” Clinton said.
    According to a USA Today analysis of 30 years of legal filings throughout the country, Trump and his various businesses have been involved in at least 3,500 legal actions in federal and state courts.
    It is important to note that USA Today’s analysis included all legal actions, including bankruptcies. They also include actions in which Trump was the defendant as well as the plaintiff.
    The cases USA Today analyzed involved Trump and the more than 500 companies on his federal financial disclosure report and previous holdings. Almost half of the cases involved one of Trump’s casinos — of those 1,700, most involved issues with gamblers who had not paid their debts to a Trump-affiliated casino.
    CNN has not independently verified USA Today’s analysis of the 3,500 legal actions in 33 states, and we don’t know which legal actions were actual lawsuits.
    USA Today also found that in the year after he entered the race, at least 70 new cases had been filed. That evens out to about one lawsuit every five days — slightly lower than his average over the last 30 years, which Clinton was correct in saying is about once every three days.
    We rate this claim as true, but misleading, because Clinton’s claim implies that Trump was sued once every three days, give or take, which isn’t quite the way that it all went down.
    Reality Check: Clinton on Trump businesses failing
    By Chip Grabow and Nancy Leung, CNN
    At one point, Clinton asked: “What in the world happened? His excuse is, Atlantic City just went downhill, it was not his fault. But his businesses were failing long before the rest of the town was struggling.”
    But were Trump’s economic fortunes in Atlantic City truly faltering before the city fell on hard times?
    Atlantic City’s fortunes have fluctuated since 1976, when New Jersey legalized casino gambling. Enjoying its status as the East Coast Las Vegas, Atlantic City saw many years of growth thanks to the gambling industry.
    In 1991, Taj Mahal was the first of four Trump properties in Atlantic City to declare bankruptcy. By then, “America’s Playground” had already begun experiencing a slowdown after a decade of healthy growth. Various factors were to blame: a national economic recession, high gas prices and fewer visitors to the city by the sea.
    Just a year later, in 1992, Trump took his Plaza Hotel and Casino into bankruptcy court.
    Over the next several years, legalized gambling expanded to neighboring states. Competition intensified and the revenue the city had long enjoyed flowed elsewhere.
    During this time, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, “Poverty and unemployment rates are well above the state levels, while income is well below. City residents face a dearth of basic retail services. Vacant lots and vacant housing are common in some parts of the city, overcrowding in other parts.”
    Two more Trump properties filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection: one in 2004, when the economy was going fairly well, and the other in 2009, in the midst of the most recent economic downturn. By that time, Trump’s casinos weren’t the only ones feeling the pain — competing casinos had also lost revenue or closed.
    We rate Clinton’s claim that Trump’s businesses failed long before the rest of the town was struggling as false.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/06/politics/hillary-clinton-speech-fact-check/index.html

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    Doctors issue warning about LED streetlights

    The American Medical Association (AMA) has just adopted an official policy statement about street lighting: cool it and dim it.

    The statement, adopted unanimously at the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago on June 14, comes in response to the rise of new LED street lighting sweeping the country. An AMA committee issued guidelines on how communities can choose LED streetlights to “minimize potential harmful human health and environmental effects.”
      Municipalities are replacing existing streetlights with efficient and long-lasting LEDs to save money on energy and maintenance. Although the streetlights are delivering these benefits, the AMA’s stance reflects how important proper design of new technologies is and the close connection between light and human health.
      The AMA’s statement recommends that outdoor lighting at night, particularly street lighting, should have a color temperature of no greater than 3000 Kelvin (K). Color temperature (CT) is a measure of the spectral content of light from a source; how much blue, green, yellow and red there is in it. A higher CT rating generally means greater blue content, and the whiter the light appears.
      In the case of white LED light, it is estimated to be five times more effective at suppressing melatonin at night than the high pressure sodium lamps (given the same light output) which have been the mainstay of street lighting for decades. Melatonin suppression is a marker of circadian disruption, which includes disrupted sleep.
      Bright electric lighting can also adversely affect wildlife by, for example, disturbing migratory patterns of birds and some aquatic animals which nest on shore.

      Street lighting and human health

      The AMA has made three recommendations in its new policy statement:
      First, the AMA supports a “proper conversion to community based Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting, which reduces energy consumption and decreases the use of fossil fuels.”
      Second, the AMA “encourage[s] minimizing and controlling blue-rich environmental lighting by using the lowest emission of blue light possible to reduce glare.”

      See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

      Third, the AMA “encourage[s] the use of 3000K or lower lighting for outdoor installations such as roadways. All LED lighting should be properly shielded to minimize glare and detrimental human and environmental effects, and consideration should be given to utilize the ability of LED lighting to be dimmed for off-peak time periods.”
      There is almost never a completely satisfactory solution to a complex problem. We must have lighting at night, not only in our homes and businesses, but also outdoors on our streets. The need for energy efficiency is serious, but so too is minimizing human risk from bad lighting, both due to glare and to circadian disruption. LED technology can optimize both when properly designed.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/21/health/led-streetlights-ama/index.html

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      6 summer styles your patio needs

      •  (Dulux Paint/Houzz)

      •  (Sarah Greenman/Houzz)

      •  (Debra Yates/Houzz)

      At last the weather is warming up, the plants are springing to life and the sun is beckoning us outside. It may still be drizzling on occasion, but we know our gardens will be getting some heavy use in the next few months. To help you make the most of your outdoor space this summer, here are six simple ways (that wont break the budget) to ensure that youre ready.

      1. Shed some light. I always say lighting is one of the most overlooked elements of garden design, yet it has the ability to give a landscape a magical quality. But lets be honest, it can be expensive. If youre not ready to commit to the installation of a new lighting scheme, a simple string of globe or twinkle lights overhead can impart the same effect. By stringing the lights overhead, youre essentially creating a ceiling plane, which helps make the space feel cozier and more inviting. Nothing keeps people outside, enjoying a garden after dark, like a beautifully lit patio.

      2. Give it a fresh coat. Im always thrilled when I finally get to drag my outdoor furniture out of the shed. Its a true sign that sunny skies have arrived. Before setting your furniture out for the season, give it a once-over. Are there any scuffs, maybe a few splinters? If you have natural-colored wood furniture, give those rough spots a quick sanding and apply a fresh coat of an outdoor finish.

      Consider painting your outdoor furniture for more color. Its necessary to first remove the existing finish or paint. This can be done with a hand sander. Once thats done, choose a color that ties in with the existing scheme for a fresh, clean look, or go bold and choose a color that will make that piece stand out as a focal point in the garden. Either way, once youre done, youll feel like you have a new piece of furniture.

      3. Put a rug down. It may seem simple, but dressing up the floor plane by adding an outdoor rug that picks up the color of your home or the colors used in the surrounding landscape can transform an OK space into an oh boy! space. An outdoor rug works double duty by softening the hardscape and pulling the scene together.

      Tip: Dont feel like buying a rug and bringing it inside when the weather gets nasty? Try stenciling a rug-like pattern right on the deck. Be sure to use outdoor paint that can withstand the elements and foot traffic.

      RELATED: DIY: How to Paint a Sisal Rug

      4. The futures so bright, you have to add shade. Do you love to relax on your front porch and wave to the neighbors as you sip a cool drink? Me too. But what about when the suns angle hits the porch just so, and suddenly its too hot and bright to enjoy your favorite spot? Instead of retreating indoors this year, try installing a simple rod and curtain that you can draw for a little relief. Not only will you get the shade you crave, but youll also have the benefit of a bit more privacy, should you desire it.

      5. Remember the details. Sometimes the smallest thing can make the biggest difference. Its no different when adding the finishing touches to your outdoor space. It can be as simple as adding a few colorful pillows to create a cozy corner or adding carefully placed candles to light a path and draw a visitor into the garden. (Its recommended that you use glass hurricanes to house the candles for safetys sake, and, of course, dont leave burning candles unattended.)

      6. Add a touch of whimsy. Get creative and try hanging a group of mirrors in fancy frames on a wall or fence. The mirrors will create an optical illusion and make the garden seem larger than it really is. The eye is tricked into thinking theres more to see just around the corner or on the other side of the wall. The fun frames will add a unique touch and make the space all the more inviting.

      Caution: Outdoor mirrors should be reserved for small patios and avoided in open areas that could attract flying birds.

      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2016/06/09/6-summer-styles-your-patio-needs/

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      Your grill season checklist

      •  (Inspired Garden Design/Houzz)

      •  (Brett Zamore Design/Houzz)

      •  (New Eco Landscapes/Houzz)

      Whether you enjoy slow-cooked barbecue on a Sunday afternoon or firing up the grill for quick weeknight dinners, having a properly equipped space and well-maintained grill makes backyard cooking more of a joy. These tools, cleaning tasks and tips will help make grilling more convenient and fun this year.

      RELATED: 14 Ways to Make Your Grill Setup Better

      Everyday Grill Maintenance

      • Before cooking, preheat grill and use grill brush to scrape grates.
      • Wipe up spills as soon as they happen.
      • If you have a charcoal grill, wait until grill is completely cool before disposing of ashes.
      • Once grill is cool, cover with a grill cover between uses.

      Cleaning and Grill Maintenance Tools

      • Grill cover
      • Grill brush
      • Bucket
      • Sponge
      • Ashcan and scoop for charcoal grills

      Tip: Get the right grill brush. Choose a grill brush with brass bristles if you have a grill with stainless steel grates, but choose one with stainless steel bristles if your grill has cast iron grates. And be sure to check your grill brush regularly for loose bristles. If bristles begin to loosen, its time for a new brush; you dont want any bristles ending up in your next dinner.

      RELATED: Find the Perfect Grill Accessories on Houzz

      Essential Tools for Cooking on the Grill

      • Fuel
      • Chimney starter for charcoal grills
      • Heavy-duty oven mitts
      • Tongs
      • Grilling spatula
      • Instant-read meat thermometer
      • Foil and paper towels
      • Outdoor garbage can
      • Fire extinguisher, just in case

      Tip: Add night lighting. Cooking in the dark is bound to result in over- or underdone food and is no fun for the grillmaster. Instead of relying on a headlamp or flashlight, why not splurge on grill-zone lighting? Choose overhead lighting, a grill-side task light or a combination of the two.

      RELATED: Revamp Your Outdoor Entertaining With New Lighting

      How to Deep Clean a Gas Grill

      • Make sure gas is turned off and disconnect propane tank.
      • Scrape the grates using grill brush.
      • Remove the grates and scrape underside using grill brush.
      • Remove burner protectors (also called barrier or flame tamer) and wash in a bucket of soapy water.
      • Using grill brush, scrape off all visible buildup from inside grill box, including burners.
      • Examine burners; if any holes are clogged with grease, poke them clear using a paper clip.
      • Slide out removable bottom tray and empty contents.
      • Replace bottom tray, burner protectors and grates.
      • Wash exterior with warm, soapy water and dry with a clean cloth.
      • Inspect fuel line for holes and cracks. If you find any, you will need to purchase a replacement part.

      How to Deep Clean a Charcoal Grill

      • Remove old (cool) ashes to a noncombustible container, like a galvanized steel garbage can earmarked for this purpose.
      • Remove grates and scrub interior of grill well with grill brush.
      • Wash exterior of grill with warm, soapy water. Rinse with clean water and dry with a clean cloth.
      • Light a charcoal fire, replace grill grates and allow to heat, then scrape grates with grill brush.

      Tip: Allow ample time for ashes to cool. Ashes that collect in the bottom of the grill can stay hot after a fire for up to two days, so be sure to allow plenty of time for cooling before you clean them out. And when you do tackle the chore, use a metal scoop.

      Tip: Dont use water to clean your ceramic grill. Ceramic grills (such as the Big Green Egg pictured here) must be kept dry inside, so never clean the interior with water. These grills are designed to be self-cleaning, according to the manufacturer, so all you need to do is close the lid and vents after cooking, and the residual heat will burn off any residue. Then scrub the cooking grid with a grill brush, and youre good to go.

      Nice Extras for the Outdoor Chef

      • Basting brush
      • Grill basket for small veggies
      • Reusable metal skewers
      • Pizza stone
      • Grill apron
      • Lightweight platters to hold food as it comes off the grill
      • Salt and pepper grinders
      • Bottle opener

      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2016/05/13/your-grill-season-checklist/

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      3 things to know before you buy your next lightbulb | Fox News

      In this product image provided by Osram Sylvania, an ULTRA High Performance Series omni-directional LED A-Line lamp, designed to give the equivalent brightness of a 75-watt standard bulb, is displayed.(AP Photo/Osram Sylvania) (AP Photo/Osram Sylvania)

      Two years ago, under pressure from the U.S. government, lightbulb makers stopped manufacturing the humble incandescent bulb. You can still find some on the store shelves, especially specialty and 3-way bulbs, but standard 40/60/100-watt A19s are no longer available.

      Unless you stockpiled a lifetime supply of incandescent bulbs, you’re probably in the market for replacements. Maybe you’ve already bought a different type of bulb and aren’t happy with it. Thats pretty common, by the way.

      I’m going to walk you through the options on the market, and very important aspects of buying bulbs that work well in your home.

      1. Know the options

      There are three major alternatives to incandescent bulbs: halogen, CFL and LED. Each one has its pros and cons.

      Halogen bulbs are a more efficient version of incandescents. In many stores, they’re even labeled as “eco-incandescent.” They eke out an improvement of 28 percent over incandescent, which puts them over the 25 percent limit needed to avoid being banned.

      So the energy savings aren’t too great, and they last only as long as standard incandescents. They also put out more heat than older incandescents, though many have an inner layer that reflects the heat back toward the filament for improved efficiency. In terms of cost, they’re the cheapest alternative, and they have the traditional color temperature of incandescents. (More on the really important color temperature aspect in a minute.)

      If you want a no-fuss replacement for your existing bulbs, this is still a good choice. But in four years, the second stage of the lighting efficiency rules is supposed to go into effect, and halogen bulbs will probably disappear as well.

      Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs have been around for a while, and they have improved since they were introduced. You can see up to 75 percent energy savings, and they’re supposed to last around 10 times longer than incandescents. Price-wise, they cost only a few dollars more than halogens.

      One concern with CFLs is that they contain trace amounts of mercury, which makes cleaning up broken bulbs and disposing of old ones a bit more complicated. Read the EPA’s recommended disposal steps.

      Like larger fluorescent lights, CFLs can take a second to turn on and a little time to warm up to full brightness. Manufacturers have improved this, but there might still be a delay. Also, like any other fluorescent lights, CFLs can flicker, which may cause eye strain.

      If you have dimmer switches in your house, note that not all CFLs are dimmable. You’ll need a CFL that specifically says it’s dimmable, and even then it might not work correctly with incandescent, or “legacy,” dimmer switches. You might have to upgrade your switches to ones designed to work with CFL and LEDs. Manufacturers Leviton and Lutron both make UL Listed dimmers and have lists of compatible bulbs.

      Light-emitting diode (LED) technology is the newest addition to the home lighting market, though you’ve already seen LED lights in LCD TV and monitor backlights, car headlamps, Christmas lights, municipal lighting and other places.

      LEDs save even more energy than CFLs, and they last up to 25 times longer than halogens (at three-hours-a-day usage, they can supposedly last 20 years, and there are some that can last 40 years or more). Of course, they can cost six times more than halogen bulbs, so it’s a bit more of an investment up front. But you should see big savings down the road.

      As with CFLs, not all LED lights are dimmable, although most new ones are. Look for bulbs that say “dimmable” on the packaging. However, even dimmable LEDs might not work correctly with older dimmer switches. You might have to upgrade your home’s dimmer switches to ones that are designed to work with CFL and LEDs.

      2. Watts vs. Lumens

      When you bought an incandescent bulb, you knew how bright a 40-, 60- or 100-watt bulb would be even though a watt is a unit of energy, not brightness.

      With newer, more efficient lights, a little watt goes a long way. That means a 10-watt CFL might give you the same light as a 60-watt incandescent. Fortunately, most lighting packages will say 60-watt equivalent.

      But that measurement won’t be around forever, and it isn’t always right. You might get a 60-watt equivalent CFL but find that, due to its shape or color, it’s not as bright as you were hoping.

      That’s why you should start looking at a bulb’s lumens rating, which is the measure of brightness. When you buy a new bulb, try it out and make a note of the lumens. This will help you find the sweet spot for your rooms. And no matter what type of bulb you buy in the future, youll know the brightness will be right.

      3. Color temperature

      Color temperature is something many people don’t consider, but they should. It’s what makes the difference between a warm homey lamp and sharp white daylight. Any bulb you buy is set to a specific color temperature, such as 2,700K (K stands for the Kelvin temperature scale).

      The lower the number, the warmer the light. Warm light is good for area lights and bedrooms at night. For reference, a candle is around 1900K.

      The reason many people didn’t like LED lights at first was that the only available color temperature was on the high side and seemed too bright and harsh for most homes. But now you can find both LEDs and CFLs in the full color temperature range.

      So, what color temperatures should you consider?

      Those in the 2700K to 3300K range will give you a warmer light, like a typical incandescent bulb. Many manufacturers call it “soft white.” That’s good for bedrooms and general lighting at night.

      Bulbs from 3500K to 5000K are usually called “bright white.” Theyre not as warm, but they show more detail in the room. Theyre a nice middle ground for a living room.

      Anything 5500K and higher gives an effect like white sunlight. Some manufacturers even label them “daylight.” Theyre better for reading or work because they help you pick out text and detail. Just be aware that they will trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, which can affect your sleep schedule.

      Bonus: Special Features

      Modern lightbulbs can do much more than just brighten up a room. Lighting manufacturers have started adding special features to their bulbs, especially LED bulbs.

      For example, Philips makes the Hue “personal wireless lighting” system. The Hue bulbs hook up to your Wi-Fi network so you can control your lights from a smartphone or tablet. You can put the lighting on a schedule or hook it into a full home automation setup. Other manufactures, like Cree, make connected lights that can link up with home automation systems, as well.

      Philips also makes Hue bulbs that can display up to 16 million colors, so you can choose a color that matches your mood or time of day. It has these in standard A-19 form, or as part of units like the Hue Go, Hue iris or Hue bloom. Just know you will pay a premium for these bulbs.

      You might also run into some security concerns. Wi-Fi connected bulbs often don’t have the security they should. The original Philips Hue bulb let anyone connect to it, so a neighbor could take control of your light if he wanted. And once someone connected, there was no way to disconnect him.

      While Philips fixed the problem, it’s still something to think about as you bring high-tech connected appliances into your home. Some manufacturers take the time to put in good security, but many don’t. Learn more about how the Internet of Things is opening your home to hackers.

      On the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.


      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/12/12/3-things-to-know-before-buy-your-next-lightbulb.html

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      Pot is power hungry: why the marijuana industry’s energy footprint is growing

      The $3.5bn industry is one of the nations most energy intensive, often demanding 24-hour indoor lighting rigs, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems at multiplying grow sites

      Marijuana might look and smell natural, but its ecological footprint is anything but green. Pot is power hungry.

      The $3.5bn cannabis industry is one of the nations most energy intensive, often demanding 24-hour indoor lighting rigs, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems at multiplying grow sites.

      As many as 10 states could legalize recreational marijuana this year, which means the resultant electricity consumption could cause problems for public utilities and city officials.

      A study by scientist Evan Mills, with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, revealed that legalized indoor marijuana-growing operations account for 1% of total electricity use in the US, at a cost of $6bn per year. Annually, such consumption produces 15m tons of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2), equal to that of three million average cars.

      In 2012, Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. Two years later, Denvers 362 marijuana grow facilities consumed more than 2% of the citys electricity usage. Statewide facilities are behind roughly half of Colorados new power demands.

      Cannabis growers are moving slowly toward energy efficient practices, largely out of fear for how changes might affect the quality of their product.

      They approach these things with a great deal of caution, especially when you talk about things that have a crop-wide effect, said Ron Flax, sustainability examiner for Boulder County, Colorado.

      Each crop cycle has a lot of dollars associated with it, so theyre really hesitant to try something new and hope it works.

      But theyre also paying very high utility bills.

      Flax said electricity represented roughly 20% of the total cost of a cannabis operation.

      In Boulder County during the second quarter of 2015, a 5,000 square foot indoor cannabis facility was eating about 29,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity monthly. A local household in the county was consuming about 630kWh.

      Given cannabis appetite for energy coupled with Colorados mostly coal-fired power plants Boulder County has required commercial cannabis growers to either offset their electricity use with renewable energy, or pay a 2c charge per kWh.

      The fees accrued go towards the Energy Impact Offset Fund, which is used to educate and finance sustainable cannabis cultivation in the county, such as installing energy monitors at grow facilities.

      But this has also kept energy efficient technologies from budding. Even after legalization in Colorado, new grow operations largely resemble underground operations. Investors have been hesitant to jump onboard.

      But its shifting, said Flax, as lots of energy professionals and knowledgeable product manufactures are entering the marketplace.

      Data centers, for example, have similar high-intensity energy profiles. Flax said some experts are moving into the weed sector, to profit from crossover technologies.

      Some have created dangerous situations

      In other states where the recreation market has taken off, cannabis production is having a similar effect.

      According to a report by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council in Oregon where recreational marijuana has been legal since 2014 an indoor grow system for only four plants sucks up as much energy as 29 refrigerators.

      The report also estimated that the emerging market could warrant the electricity demands of a small city in the next 20 years.

      Such needs have put strain on public utilities. Last summer in Portland, Oregon, Pacific Power reported seven outages from cannabis production. Portland General Electric (PGE) experienced similar blows.

      We dont track the numbers specifically related to cannabis producers, but some have created dangerous situations by overloading existing equipment, said Steven Corson, a PGE spokesman.

      Customers of PGE and other Oregon utilities are directed to the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO), which offers cash incentives and technical services to marijuana businesses looking to save energy and reduce costs.

      For a few lighting projects were helping medical marijuana growers complete, the cash incentives range from $15,000 to $80,000, depending on the size of the lighting system, said Alex Bartini, industrial senior program manager for ETO.

      Oregon, like Colorado, has no statewide energy efficiency regulations or rules that are specific to growing marijuana.

      We are in the learning stages, as is much of the industry, on where and how marijuana growing operations can reduce energy consumption, said Bartini.

      In Washington state, which legalized recreational cannabis in 2012, rewards programs are cropping up.

      Like most growers of cannabis for recreational use, Solstice grows indoors, but outdoor cultivation may become more popular. Photograph: Melanie Sevcenko/for the Guardian

      Solstice, a Washington-based cannabis grower, worked with public utility Seattle City Light to establish an incentives program for energy efficient upgrades for indoor agriculture.

      Alex Cooley, vice-president of Solstice, said the utility agreed to give them a six-figure rebate if they used 100 LED lights in their growing operation. The upgrade will put less burden on City Lights infrastructure and save Solstice 50% of their energy use.

      Itll be less money for us to operate the facility over time, said Cooley.

      Solstice uses 1,000W high intensity discharge lamps (HID), which easily compare to LEDs for the vegetative phase, where roots and leaves are developed.

      But, said Cooley, we dont believe that the LED technology is necessarily there yet for the flowering side. Flowering is when the plants grow smokeable buds.

      Gabriel Romero, communications at Xcel Energy in Denver, Colorado, has heard similar feedback. Excel works directly with growing operations to determine their energy needs.

      Growers tell us that it takes an extra four weeks with LEDs, and to them its just not worth it from a financial standpoint, he said.

      And while Xcel does provide rebates to businesses that lower their kilowatt hours, the cannabis industry accounts for only a handful of such rewards. The reason is that cannabis cultivators have no guidebook.

      In growing operations each person has a different way of doing it, said Romero. Theres no standard.

      Its the closest thing to the sun

      As long as lighting continues to account for 80% of any indoor growers electricity use, lighting companies can feast on the marketplace.

      Boulderlamp, in Colorado, has created the 315W CDL Agro grow light, which uses less than half the wattage of a standard 1,000W high-pressure sodium grow lamp.

      If growers replace one standard lamp with two 315W CDLs, said Jack Elliot of Boulderlamp, they can increase production by roughly 25% while saving up to 45% on energy.

      Its spectrum resembles the suns spectrum more than any other artificial light source, Elliot said. In the cannabis world, its the closest thing you can put in an indoor environment that mimics the sun. And the plants go absolutely crazy under these things.

      Sunshine is what growers seek, but outdoor operations leave crops vulnerable.

      [Indoors] youre able to perfect your yields and your quality much more, said Alex Cooley at Solstice. But if youre outdoors, youre completely subject to the season.

      As well, the vast majority of us growers have learned indoor as a result of prohibition.

      Consumers may have been trained to believe that indoor-grown is simply better bud, but Solstice has partnered with farmers that use multiple outdoor operations and greenhouses for cannabis cultivation. He believes the market will eventually head outside.

      In my opinion, indoor cannabis is going to be a very shrinking component of the market, because its just too expensive, he said. You cant justify the cost of $400 or $500 a pound to cultivate inside when you can cultivate outside for $50 a pound.

      Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/27/marijuana-industry-huge-energy-footprint

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      Streetlights May Be Giving You Sleepless Nights

      You may already know the importance of shutting off lights and powering down devices if you want deep, uninterrupted sleep. But what you may not know is that the light outside your home could be just as bad for your rest.

      The streetlights that are so helpful when you’re walking along a dark road at night can disrupt your sleep patterns, according to a study released this week from the American Academy of Neurology.

      “We live in a 24/7 society, and outdoor lighting helps us be safer at night, but it comes with a tradeoff,” Dr. Maurice Ohayon, a Stanford University sleep scientist who authored the study, told The Huffington Post. “That fact that we encounter less darkness as we go about our day may be affecting our sleep.”

      Researchers interviewed more than 15,000 people over the course of eight years about their sleep quality and bedtime habits, then cross-referenced participants’ reports with data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program to determine how much outdoor light they were exposed to at night.

      The nighttime environment of people in urban areas was three to six times brighter than that of people in small towns and rural areas, scientists found. And residents of bright areas were more likely than those in low-light areas to sleep less than six hours per night, be dissatisfied with their rest and report fatigue.

      Light is the most powerful cue for our circadian clocks, our roughly 24-hour sleep-wake cycles,according to Harvard University neuroscientist Anne-Marie Chang. Its presence suppresses the hormone melatonin, which induces sleep.

      The worst offenders, according to Ohayon, are the new generation of LED streetlights. They give off a bluish light and are brighter than traditional sodium-vapor streetlights, which have an orange tint.

      “The blue light emanated by the streetlights in most big cities provides more safety because it’s like daylight, and allows people to see more clearly at night,” Ohayon said. “But it is uniquely disruptive to human sleep.”

      Research, including a 2014 study on eReaders and sleep, has shown that blue light has a greater effect on circadian rhythms and melatonin suppression than naturally occurring light, which has a longer wavelength. 

      LED streetlights have become steadily more prevalent in major cities. New York City’s 250,000 streetlights, for instance, are expected to be replaced by LEDs within the next year. 

      Ohayon said ambient blue light from modern street lights is basically as bad for your sleep as having screens and gadgets in the bedroom.

      “We spend our lives in a bath of artificial light,” he said. 

      So what’s an urbanite to do, short of moving to a farm?

      Oyahon recommended using blackout shades or sleep masks in the bedroom and limiting LED light exposure from cell phones and computers near bedtime. 

      This isn’t new advice, and it may seem easier said than done, but Ohayon acknowledged that unnatural environments call for the extra effort.

      “Darkness in the bedroom must be commanded,” he said.

      Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/02/29/streetlights-disrupt-sleep_n_9384308.html

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      Redesigning Advice To Help Make Your Home More Home-like

      If you are over a limited budget and wish to boost your home, you will find probably things you can do yourself. Read the following tips for more information about home improvement as well as the amazing possibilities. Redecorating will save you a ton of money as you fix your own home yourself.

      Instead of purchasing plastic boxes for under bed storage, buy some square baskets. Baskets are a fantastic way to keep items you may need during the day, and keep your living area uncluttered and neat. Plastic doesn’t look very good, but using baskets can be a touch of professionalism in almost any environment.

      Before installing paneling, paint your old walls with coordinating stripes. Bits of the previous wall will show even when the paneling is installed properly. To minimize on that, measure where the panels are going to meet. Use paint which matches the paneling.


      An easy way to make the worn our furniture and scuffed up floors appear like new is to add new lighting. There are lots of types of lights that create a comforting aura of light. Guests will simply spot the bright and cheery glow of your home, despite the fact that while you may think the adding light to the room emphasizes the impurities.

      Focus on interior lighting for your redesigning project. You may save energy and cash if you change from the old bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lights. These bulbs also last longer than traditional lighting choices. This really is a really easy project that may have remarkable results on the amount of money you save in energy bills.

      Home improvement could become your hobby: it saves you lots of money when considering what you can do to increase your home. These tips should aid you in getting started or get new ideas. Do not forget that redecorating should be either fun or save some costs. Think of this before you begin a new project.

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