Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The flu in the first person

We've written at RaisingIslands.com about the H1N1 flu virus in a somewhat detached way, but now it's gotten personal.

I'm just off of what could have been- (by some symptom-reading systems—more on that later) the virus formerly known as Swine Flu.

If it is, let me just say, about that business about it being a “mild” flu? Harumph!

I felt like someone had tenderized me top to toe with a baseball bat, and overdoses of pain killers didn't do a lot of good.

I am old enough to be in that group that's statistically less likely to get it. That didn't help me.

Parenthetically, there is a level of weirdness about being infected by a bug that's a direct descendant of a bug that may have been inside a Mexican pig less than a year ago.

I've had a few flus and to be clear, this one stands out.

Actually, three things stood out.

One was pain. Body aches, headaches, skin aches, joint aches. Lot of aches, and Aleve barely made a dent.

Another was the sensation that someone on speed was messing with the temperature controls. There were fevers and chills, and chills during fevers, and sweats, and covers on and covers off, ad nauseum. That an pretty significant fatigue—didn't get out of the sack much for the first three days.

Finally there was, to put it as pleasantly as possible, significant intestinal distress.

There were not in my case—and I give thanks for this—significant nasal congestion, coughing or other upper respiratory issues. I had a mild dry cough. I had no appetite.

From what I read, and my doctor reported, you can't really tell which flu you have without a blood test, and in the middle of both flu season and the H1N1 event, there are so many people getting sick that they're not testing for it any more.

According to some sources, H1N1 has a reputation of sneaking up on you and hitting hard, although other flus will do that, too.

In my case, at 7 a.m., I was out on the ocean, paddling a canoe and feeling great. At 9 a.m. I was wondering who'd wrapped me in a blanket and pounded on me with lead pipes. It was rapid.

I managed to get in to see a doctor at the end of the day, with a temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit and a fraction, and he prescribed Tamiflu, which I started taking immediately. It comes in 10-capsule packets, and you take one morning and one at night. For me, the five-day dose coincided with the worst of the symptoms.

They say Tamiflu will take a day or two off the symptoms. On day five I was feeling reasonably human, weak but okay. On day seven I was ready to go paddling in the ocean again.

During the process, I was very uncomfortable, but alert enough to read. For some reason television was far more annoying to me than normal, so I ploughed through books. My librarian wife brought me a tall stack of paperbacks, and I needed the whole stack. I was feeling ornery enough that I wouldn't put up with authors who cheated, digressed or got silly. Half the books, even by well-known authors, didn't make the cut. I gave them 20 or 30 pages, and if they started wasting my time, on to the next volume.

Saving all my patience, I suppose, for getting through the disease.

The pain lasted about three days. The severe fatigue four days, with moderate fatigue beyond that. The feverishness and/or sweats also four days. The intestinal stuff started about halfway in and then outlasted everything else.

Can I say for sure it's H1N1? No.

There's tons of credible information at the government flu site, www.flu.gov, and lots of interesting information elsewhere on the web—some of it credible and some less so.

Some resources say you can tell the difference by symptoms. Others disagree.

Some assert, for instance, that very rapid onset (bingo!) is a factor in H1N1, and that body aches and tiredness are more severe with H1N1 than seasonal flu. Most reputable sources, though, say you can't distinguish a particular case accurately by these or other symptoms, and that rapid onset isn't exclusive to H1N1.

Here's a site that argues they're pretty much the same, except that H1N1 has more respiratory/sore throat symptoms, which of course mine didn't. The federal government flu site notes that the respiratory issues only occur in a few of the cases.

The upshot, of course, is that even in laboratory-confirmed cases, the symptoms are different in different people. Because of courses, it's not just about the flu, it's also about you.

As for me, if a flu shot appears on my radar, I'm taking it. I may now be immune this particular strain of influenza, whatever it was, but I don't want to go through anything like this experience again anytime soon.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sisyphean climate battles--Can we just move along?

A few letters to editors in recent weeks recalled for us Sisyphus, and long-ago battles that need continually to be refought.

Sisyphus, you'll recall, was the Greek mythical figure who shoved a giant boulder to the near the top of a hill each day, only to see if roll back down. For all eternity he was forced daily to push it back up.

The letters, all angry, assert that climate change is not happening, that it's a fraud.

From my perspective, that's a little like the guy who stands up to his knees in water, claiming it's not even a little wet.

Set aside the issue of human involvement in warming. If you choose to believe it's about cosmic radiation, about solar activity or some other natural cycle, fine. There is indeed a class of narrowly focused papers that suggest a role for such things--and even then, the authors mostly say it's a limited role. But most reputable scientists, and most nations, agree that human activity—like fossil fuel consumption and forest clearing—are the primary culprits.

Warming itself is well established. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that 95 percent of glaciers are melting. Plants in temperate zones around the world are blooming earlier in the spring. Animals are migrating earlier. Snow melt in California Sierras is occurring two weeks earlier over the past century.

It's even affecting our beer. The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, in the Journal of Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, reported recently on a decline in the quality of Saaz hops, a delicate variety used to make the finest pilsner beer. They blame rising temperatures.

A friend of mine who denies warming says he's a gauge-reader and mistrusts calculated evidence and computer models. Well, sea levels are measurably rising. Oceans are measurably warming. These are not theories. They don't rely on computer models or guesswork. These are things we can measure directly.

The conservative columnist George Will recently and loudly discovered that in February, there was as much ice in the Arctic Ocean as there was in February 20 years ago. What he either ignored or intentionally failed to report is that that ice was dramatically thinner than it was 20 years ago; or that in summer, there was far, far less ice than there was in summers 20 years ago. Less than at any time since we've been able to measure it.

Whether George Will is embarrassed or mule-headed or just plain doesn't care, I don't know. But to my knowledge, he has not fessed up that he mistook ice coverage for ice volume.

If we want some interesting observations, let's set aside both the journalists and the scientists. Who really knows what's going on up there in the icy north?

Business does. The oil companies, mining companies and the nations that border the Arctic know the ice is melting. They're actively arguing about access to the oil and minerals that are under where the ice used to be.

Captain Cook discovered Hawai'i for Europe while he was on his way to find the Northwest Passage. It was not there to be found in the 1770s. It was iced in, as it has been for most of the time since.

But in 2007, the Northwest Passage was clear for the first time in memory—and shipping companies are looking at it as an alternative to the clogged Panama Canal for getting from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Shipping companies are already taking advantage of the reduced ice cover over the northern side of Asia and Europe. This fall, two German cargo ships became the first commercial vessels ever to cross from east to west, NORTH of Russia, through the Arctic Ocean. These German ships, which were accompanied by an ice breaker just in case, were headed from South Korea to Rotterdam, in Holland.

China Daily columnist Liu Shinan decried the event, not because he doesn't believe it, but because shipping in the Arctic Ocean could threaten the health of Arctic ecosystems.

The point is that climate change is not something we need to worry about in the future. It's here, now. The folks at this maple syrup farm are worried. They're tapping their trees two weeks earlier each year than they did forty years ago. And it's affecting maple sugar production.

The prospect of no maple syrup on your hotcakes not enough to worry you? How about losing that glass of wine before dinner. Stanford researchers say warming weather has already increased temperatures in the West Coast wine growing regions by 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit from 1948 to 2002, and that the continued warming will make many current wine areas unsuitable for commercial vineyards.

Now that's serious.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rare native forest bird holding its own; maybe recovering

The Maui Parrotbill, a critically endangered insect-eating forest bird, appears to be holding its own within The Nature Conservancy's actively managed Waikamoi Preserve in the forested uplands of East Maui.

(Image: Maui parrotbill. Source: The Nature Conservancy.)

Scientists are quick to caution that the information is limited to a two-week survey conducted in September of this year, but results suggest that the chunky yellowish bird's numbers are as strong or even stronger than in previous counts.

“The typical storyline with endangered forest birds is one of decline. To have an endangered bird maintain its population and perhaps even show signs of increasing is very encouraging and cause for celebration,” said Dr. Sam Gon, the Conservancy's senior scientist and cultural advisor.

It is a big deal in a world in which the primary direction of many Hawaiian native forest birds is toward extinction. The rarest of them, the po‘ouli, may be extinct. Its last two members have not been seen since 2004 (Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project).

“For populations of an endangered forest bird to remain somewhat stable for nearly 30 years is encouraging,” said the Conservancy’s Maui program director Mark White.

The rare bird survey was led by Dr. Dusti Becker, an ornithologist and project coordinator for the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project. Her team estimated that there are about 20 parrotbills per square kilometer of forest between Waikamoi Stream and the Ko‘olau Gap, on the windward slope of Haleakalā.

“I didn't expect that there would be that many birds there,” Becker said. A previous survey had placed the density at less than half that number.

The 5 to 6-inch long birds are olive green on top, yellowish beneath and have a distinctive yellow stripe over their eyes. Their name comes from their short, powerful beaks, which they use to pry open bark and twigs to reach insects and grubs. They are now found at elevations about a mile above sea level, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that only around 500 individual birds survive.

The birds, once more widespread on Maui and also on Moloka‘i, are now only found on Maui, and only within a range of 19 square miles on the high windward slopes of Haleakalā. More than a quarter of the known habitat for the parrotbills is within Waikamoi Preserve. Much of the rest is within the state's Hanawi Natural Area Reserve, where parrotbills occur at a density of about 40 per square kilometer.

The iconic crested honeycreeper, which is also endangered but is more numerous than the parrotbill, was also frequently seen during the bird population study at Waikamoi, Becker said.

In the survey, two-person teams walked numerous trails over a two-week period, stopping at regular intervals to watch for birds and listen for their calls within the 400-acre survey area. They saw or heard dozens of parrotbills, including at least three juveniles.

“We can say with confidence that Waikamoi hosts a breeding population,” White said.

The latest survey suggests a density double that of an earlier count, but the paper warned that the previous count was limited in scope, and may not have accurately represented the actual population. Still, it is possible that removal of pigs and improvement of the understory vegetation growth—which parrotbills use for feeding habitat—has increased population size at Waikamoi.

The Nature Conservancy has been actively managing the 5,230-acre Waikamoi Preserve since acquiring a permanent conservation easement to the property in 1983, from Haleakalā Ranch.

Since that time, the Conservancy has fenced out pigs, removed alien plants and increased native plants that forest birds and other species depend on. A recent vegetation survey in another portion of the preserve found a three-fold increase in native shrub cover over the past 15 years.

That's a good thing for parrotbills, for whom more native shrubs means more food. Their main feeding technique is prying insects and grubs out of dead branches and fruit and the bark of native shrubs and trees.

Becker said their preferred food sources appear to be grubs from the fruit of the native shrub kanawao, and insects and grubs from the dead branches of ‘ōhelo and ‘ākala. They also pull insects and grubs from the bark of ‘ōhi‘a and koa trees, lichen and any woody, rotting surface.

“At Waikamoi, my sense is that it's a growing population, fundamentally because of forest recovery,” Becker said.

If the population is growing, there is some hope of continued increase, since the recovery of the Waikamoi undergrowth is not complete. The forest understory is still more open than in the prime parrotbill habitat at Hanawi.

For more information:

The Nature Conservancy's Waikamoi Preserve: http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/hawaii/preserves/art2358.html

On the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project: www.mauiforestbirds.org

© The Nature Conservancy

Electric cars provide grid storage in two different ways

Changes in technology create problems, and solve them.

The electric car, interestingly, could inadvertently resolve one of the troubling issues in Hawai'i's utility-scale energy picture—in two different ways.

(Image: The all-electric Tesla Roadster. Credit: Tesla Motors.)

Both of them address the issue—important in Hawai'i—of how to blend intermittent power sources into a grid that has a need for reliable, constant energy.

Electric vehicles are viewed by many as the future of personal transportation. Even if fueled from the oil-fired utility's plug, they use far less fossil fuel than a gas-powered car. In large part, that's because big utility-scale powerplants are dramatically more efficient than hundreds of little car engines.

Many visionaries have posited an energy future in which these electric cars serve the community in another way. While they are plugged in, a smart utility grid might draw power from the battery cars to make up for temporary shortages in generation capacity.

You could set your car to always keep enough of a charge for your daily driving, but to allow the utility access to some of your power. You'd get paid for this, of course.

This works nicely if there's a big intermittent utility power source. Example: If the wind stops blowing, the utility can turn to electric cars to keep the grid up in the minutes or hours it takes to bring other generators online.

That's emergency energy storage.

But there's another role for electric cars.

What happens to those vehicle's big battery packs 8 or 10 years and a couple of thousand charges down the road, when they won't hold a full charge any more, and you want to replace them.

They don't need to be recycled yet. They're still capable of holding 80 percent of a charge, and may still handle thousands more recharge cycles. They're just too weak to run your car as far as you need to go.

Those old batteries could be converted to direct utility use. They could become massive battery banks that would, for example, store photovoltaic power for use when the sun isn't shining.

Project Better Place, which has been discussing an electric car future for Hawai'i, said one of their visions for older batteries is for this application.

Now Nissan is suggesting a similar use.

Each company—Better Place and Nissan—has developed a business model to ease the concerns of motorists about battery life cycle.

Better Place would retain ownership of the battery packs, and their system would even allow you to accomplish a quick charge by simply swapping depleted batteries for a fully charged battery pack. Nissan is proposing a battery lease system for its LEAF car, with the batteries available as utility battery banks when they come off lease.

So, waiting in the wings with the electric vehicle future, is one resolution to the problem of intermittent power supply.

This isn't pie in the sky stuff. Some utilities already have battery farms. And others are planning them. Some battery makers are already converting their automotive lithium-ion batteries to utility storage configurations.

The government is putting quite a bit of energy (sorry!) into the concept of utility scale battery storage: This one, from the Sandia National Laboratories, is already couple of years old.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

UH climate collaboration uses raw computing power

Atmospheric and ocean scientists working with one of the world's most powerful computers anticipate that new modeling research will lead to much better predictions of things like the paths and progress of hurricanes.

As well as predictions of climate events that have a less immediate impact on our lives.

One of the issues with computerized climate models is that the models in the past have use such a big grid that it can be difficult to get quality results. If a modeling program is only able to deal with blocks on a map that are 120 miles wide, then fine features smaller than that can get missed.

“In the real world, things occur on much smaller scales,” said Kevin Hamilton, interim director of the University of Hawai'i's International Pacific Research Center (IPRC).

The limitation has been the raw computing power needed to create fine resolution. So along comes Earth Simulator, one of the most powerful computers in the world, to help resolve the issue. Earth Simulator 1 was in 2002 the most powerful computer on the globe, and Earth Simulator 2 is even smarter.

Earth Simulator is operated by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), which collaborates with the IPRC on climate research. The latest IPRC newsletter reviews some of the work they're doing.

With that kind of power, researchers have been able to shrink the grid to two miles or so. At that scale you can almost pick out individual clouds.

For climate scientists, that kind of power is exciting.

“We can run these really high resolution models for hundreds of years,” Hamilton said. “We're on the leading edge of what things you can model.”

The system can also be used to model ocean circulation at finer scales than ever before, including the movement of water through ocean canyons and narrow straits that simply would have been invisible on less powerful computers.

More interesting, perhaps, for Hawai'i residents, is the system's ability to model hurricanes. With the fine scale available, researchers have been able to use the model to compare the behavior of an actual hurricane with the development of a virtual hurricane based on the weather information available when it was just starting out.

“It was very exciting. We can actually see the storm in the model,” Hamilton said.

“We're not saying that all tropical systems are predictable,” but this kind of research is likely to lead to dramatically improved weather forecasting on the scale of a week to a couple of months out.

IPRC and JAMSTEC have been collaborating since 1997, and recently expanded their partnership through 2014. Officials of both agencies met in Honolulu last week to discuss their work.

“It was really to review where we are,” Hamilton said.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Meteorites and mammoths: who do you believe?

One of the wonderful things about science is that, well, it's never over.

Those questioning minds keep collecting data, probing and researching—and often what you assumed was settled knowledge isn't, any more.

Take the woolly mammoth.

(Image: That's it. Credit: Image of Woolly Mammoth at the Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia courtesy Wikipedia Commons.)

It roamed the Americas alongside modern humans—up to about 13,000 years ago, a time called the Younger Dryas.

And then the wooly mammoth was gone. Same with the fearsome saber-toothed tiger, and a bunch of sloths. Relegated to bone piles and tar pits.

For a long time, their extinction was blamed on a global climate cooling event, whose origins are complex. Some researchers believed it was associated with a slowing of the oceans' circulation patterns.

Then a couple of years ago, scientists, intrigued by finding the element iridium in rock layers from that period, suggested the iridium came from space and that the cooling was caused by an impact by some interstellar object. You know—the impact throws lots of dust into the atmosphere, the sun's radiation is blocked for a time, and things get real cold. And a lot of creatures die out.

But just as the scientific world was getting comfortable with that theory, along comes a team of researchers, led by a Hawai'i-based graduate student, François Paquay, of the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, to challenge that assumption.

His collaborators were a U.S.-Belgium-Canada team made up of Greg Ravizza of University of Hawai'i, Steven Goderis and Philippe Claeys from Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Frank Vanhaeck from the Universiteit Ghent, Matthew Boyd from Lakehead University, Todd A. Surovell from the University of Wyoming at Laramie, and Vance T. Holliday and C. Vance Haynes, Jr. from the University of Arizona at Tucson.

They started out expecting to validate the theory, “to add more evidence to what they considered a conceptually appealing theory. However, not only were they unable to replicate the results found by the other researchers, but additional lines of evidence failed to support an impact theory for the onset of the Younger Dryas,” said a University of Hawai'i press release. http://www.hawaii.edu/news/article.php?aId=3280

In a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Paquay and his team said they looked for other indicators of an impact event. They had a number of problems. They couldn't locate an impact crater. They couldn't other indicators of extraterrestrial impact, notably isotopes of the element osmium. So they searched harder.

“Because there are so many aspects to the impact theory, we decided to just focus on geochemical evidence that was associated with it, like the concentration of iridium and other platinum group elements, and the osmium isotopes. We also decided to look in very high resolution sediment cores across North America,” Paquay said.

They looked at both marine and land-based sediment. They tested their sediment samples in laboratories both at the University of Hawai'i and in Belgium. No luck.

“We could find nothing in our data to support their theory,” he said.

But this debate is hardly over. Other folks are still doing research to support the idea of a meteorite impact.

And that's the way it is with science. The best evidence is only good until something better comes along.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ford has a 62mpg gasoline car, but of course, you can't buy it here

You can pay a pile of cash for a hot hybrid or a cool electric sportster, but there are still some miles in an old-fashioned gas engine car.

Ford, it turns out, is marketing in Europe a gasoline car that gets 62 miles to the gallon. Better than most hybrids.

(Image: Automotive X Prize entrant team OptaMotive has developed this electric speedster. It's in the competition's alternative class, meaning it's not intended as a standard commuter vehicle. But you knew that. More on these cars later in this story. Credit: Progressive Automotive X Prize.)

That new Ford Focus Econetic has some sexy features normally reserved for hybrids and electrics, like regenerative braking. And you won't be able to buy one for a couple of months. But wow! That's mileage better than a lot of motorcycles get.

The sad news, sigh, is that you can't buy it in the U.S. The Ford Focus you find in the U.S. gets half that fuel economy, in the high 20s and low 30s.

The other sad news is that this Europe-only car promises better fuel economy than any gas-powered car available in the U.S., including hybrids. In Kelley Blue Book's list of the top 2008 cars, based on fuel economy, even the hybrids don't get near that.

The leaders on Kelley's 2008 list are the Toyota Prius at 46 miles per gallon, the Honda Civic hybrid at 42, the Smart fortwo at 36, Nissan Altima hybrid at 34 and the MINI Cooper at 32.

Meanwhile, on the hyper-efficient front, the Progressive Automotive X Prize has 43 teams vying for a $10 million prize to build the best consumer-acceptable, street legal vehicle that gets 100 miles or more to the gallon.

We've looked at a few of these. Some look like futuristic spider craft,some little more than motorcycles with frames or tricked-out golf carts, but a lot look like cars you'd have in your garage and drive to work. Here's an update on that.

The X Prize competition entrants have their cars, and they're moving into performance and safety testing. The X Prize winner is to be announced in September. You can see a list of the teams here.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

LED lights, big prize, big promise

Those fragile spirals of light, compact fluorescents, are likely to have been just a transition in the world of illumination...

That's the transition between incandescent lights and light-emitting diodes, better known as LEDs.

(Image: three LED puck lights.)

It won't be long before the traditional incandescent will be thoroughly a dinosaur, a hugely inefficient device whose heat production costs you as much as the light it emits. Compact fluorescents (CFLs) are attractive because they fit into the same puka as an incandescent and use a quarter the power—but there are some pollution issues, notably toxic mercury in the tubes.

At some point, someone noticed that there might be illumination potential in those little red and green lights that tell you whether your television or computer is on or off.

But they are so tiny, and their initial applications were for cutesy flashlights that could burn for weeks on a flashlight battery, but provided so little light you could barely read by them.

That's changing. The first step was to develop arrays of little lights, so you could get enough LEDs in one place to provide useful illumination. It turns out the LED produces light at a fifth or less of the power of an incandescent, and a half to a third of compact fluorescents.

But it was still quirky, and expensive to make and to buy. Incandescents cost a few dimes. CFLs cost a few dollars. But LEDs of similar illumination cost a few tens of dollars.

Scary expensive... Or is it?

The computer guru Kim Komando makes a case for looking at energy use over the entire life of an LED. (Komando sells the things, so there's a caveat, but she seems to have her facts right.)

There's a big range in prices, so shopping can save lots. Here are some other online bulb sources: here and here and here.

One of the early arguments for CFLs, when they were more expensive than they are now, was to use them in places where the light burned a lot. Like maybe a front door light that you leave on most of the evening.

Same thing applies to LEDs. They use less power, plus, the darn things just don't seem to burn out. And because the thing will outlast dozens of incandescents and a handful of CFLs, screwing in lightbulbs might become a lost art.

But the important numbers are in energy use. And let's assume a 100 watt bulb, with the same light as a 12-watt LED. Let's assume it burns six hours a day, 365 days a year, for 2190 hours.

The incandescent uses 219 kilowatt-hours; the LED uses 26. If we're paying, say, 25 cents a kilowatt-hour, then that incandescent is costing you $54.75 while the LED adds $6.50 to the power bill.

Can that be right? It seems to be. Even at scary high cost, in high-use applications, the darn thing pays for itself in the first year. Even if the LED you buy gets half the efficiency of the one in our example, it remains far more efficient than incandescents.

Still, from a total cost standpoint, right now it still might make more sense to use CFLs. They rival LEDs in efficiency, plus they're considerably cheaper except in really long-burning applications.

A German company, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, did some research comparing the three kinds of lights.

The research was released last month. It looked at the entire life cycle of the lights. What kind of toxicity was involved, how much it cost to build them, how much electricity they used in transport and in use, and what was involved in eventually disposing of them.

“Today, LEDs are already five times more efficient than incandescent lamps. In the future, however, it is expected that LEDs will become more than ten times more efficient compared to incandescent bulbs,” the report says. Some LED manufacturers already claim efficiency rates eight times those of incandescents—the rate we used in our example above.

The upshot of the study is that the LED uses only about 2 percent of its lifetime energy use in its manufacture, and that at this point in its development, it is many times more efficient than incandescents and about even with the more mature CFL in energy efficiency. But the study says there's still room for improvement in LED technology, and it will eventually be the most efficient lighting technology.

The New York Times this week talked about the issue.

The U.S. Department of Energy wants this technology to improve, because of its obvious benefits, and has offered a massive prize to a company that produces a 60-watt LED light that fits in standard sockets. It's the L-Prize, and it could be worth $10 million to the winner.

The L-Prize, it says, is “the first government-sponsored technology competition designed to spur development of ultra-efficient solid-state lighting products to replace the common light bulb.”

So far, only the electronics firm Philips has entered, with an LED replacement for an incandescent 60-watt bulb. The 60-watter is the key, because half of all incandescent light bulbs are sold at this level of illumination.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009