by chelsea schuyler

So Dark Crystal right now

For those of you who are new, this entry might be difficult to follow without reading the previous one.  You see, I accidentally created a series.  It’s a no-no in the blog world.  No + no = this entry)

SO anyway, now that we know yer beysic latbulb, what about all the other stuff that makes light that isn’t the sun?

HALOGEN (from halos “salt” + gen “giving birth to”) BULBS: Halogen bulbs are like incandescent bulbs except that they are filled with halogen gas. Which happens to prevent the filament from evaporating by binding to the evaporating atoms and smacking their bitch up to get back, get back to where they once belonged.   (or happening to float back to the filament eventually, and the intense heat breaks them apart.  Whatever) This is why halogen lamps never darken and last a lot longer.  But since the filament atoms aren’t deposited where they evaporated off in the first place, weak spots still form and it will eventually die.  Bottom line: 3000 hours.

Building at Alton Towers, the UK's largest theme park, caught fire from halogen lamp, 2007

Hal fire and brimstone: The thing is, because you can run the bulb hotter without the filament evaporating instantly (for every unit of energy you get more light) you therefore get more heat, and a tendency to set silly things like curtains and children on fire.  From 1992-1999 evil halogen lamps were responsible for 11 deaths and 189 evil fires nationwide, and 40 million evil halogen lamps were recalled in 1997.  Brought to you by Antiquated Statistics of the Nineties. …dot com.  Let’s move on..

FLUORESCENT (not flOUrescent, which I assume is the essence of flour.  very different) BULBS: Like an incandescent bulb except take out the filament, and put in electrodes; take out the regular inert gases, and put in mercury vapor.  Electricity excites mercury atoms = light.  Instant problem, mercury atoms only emit UV light, which we can’t see.  The answer to every problem?  Paint over it!  Paint the inside of the glass bulb with fluorescent powders called ‘phosphors.’  The UV light causes the phosphors to fluoresce,

the power of fluorescence. behold.

absorbing UV light and turning it into visible light.  Efficiency without the crazy heat.  Just that pesky, toxic mercury thing.

Different phosphor mixtures can create different colors, including the ever exciting “cool white” “warm white” or EVEN “deluxe cool white” and “deluxe warm white.”  Hmm, white huh?  Make mine deluxe!  Extra strength white please.  Why if it were any whiter, it’d be… devoid of color?  Business cards of American Psycho much? Bottom line: 8000 hours.

World's largest glow stick

ready set glow

CHEMILUMINESCENCE (a rough translation of the latin words chemi “glow” and lumin “stick”): The only reason to talk about chemiluminescence is to unfurl the mysteries of the poor man’s lightsaber – the glow stick.  Take a glass tube of Hydrogen Peroxide (2).  Then put that tube inside a plastic tube (1) filled with Phenyl Oxalate and fluorescent dye (3).  Break the inside tube (4), and the chemicals mix. =glowy goodness (5)

With almost no heat emissions it’s very efficient, but not long lasting or very bright.  Glow sticks just love the chase.  The largest was 8’4” and was made in England, classifying it in the ‘dog’s bollocks’ category of light.  Bottom line: 2-12 hours.  Speaking of Star Wars,


LIGHTSABERS – in the old school Star Wars, the lightsabers were drawn into the film, the actors actually held metal rods.  And there is no Santa Claus.  Might as well kill two birds y’know?  After shooting, artists projected each frame of film onto a sheet of plastic (“animation cel”) and painted the lightsaber in.

he calls it his combat rod?

Then they put all those sheets on a black background and filmed them using a light diffuser to give that awesome glowing look.  An entire film of disembodied paint strips swinging around like idiots.  Then they double-exposed the original film onto the new film, which shall be further referred to as Yodamation (or rotoscoping if you like boring accuracy).  And it was awesome.  Bottom line: well, lightsabers aren’t light, they’re pure energy.  They don’t get a bottom.


and, just cuz:

THE SUN:  Bottom line: 70,080,000,000,000 hours.  Or so.  Which for those of you still sounding out numbers, that’s 70 quadrillion, 80 trillion hours; 8 billion years.

next up, I swear i’ll talk about bioluminescence.  I may even spell it correctly.  Stay tuned.