It was a good run, but how long did Thomas Edison think that his new invention the Incandescent Light would last?
Since his 1879 filament test set in his Menlo Park (N.J.) laboratory, we have taken Edison s fragile light bulb for granted.
Now, an accidental discover this past month by a graduate student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee could bust the bulb.
Michael Bowers was trying to make "quantum dots," according to the Vanderbilt University Web site. The quantum dots are crystals only a few nanometers big (less than 1/1,000th the width of a human hair and containing 100 to 1,000 electrons).
Shining light or applying electricity to quantum dots produces a bright, colorful light, but Bowers shined a laser on the dots and produced a beautiful white glow.
Bowers and another student then stirred the dots into polyurethane and coated a blue LED light bulb with the mix. This produced a white light similar to a regular light bulb.
In the last few years, LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) have begun replacing incandescent and fluorescent lights in some applications.
In the past, LEDs could only produce green, red, yellow, and then blue light. Then an alteration produced white light with a blue hue.
Scientists believe that LEDs, which produce twice as much light as a regular 60 watt bulb and burn for over 50,000 hours, will eventually replace the incandescent bulbs, and sodium vapor and fluorescent lights.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that LED lighting might reduce U.S. energy consumption for lighting by 29 percent by 2025.
Bowers work is published online in a recent edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
You want first-person shooter games? Kuma/War has playable re-creations of real war events released weeks after they occur.
Accurate missions are developed and distributed free for online multiplayer games. Fallujah, Ramadi, Najaf, al Mahdi cemetery battle, and Uday and Qusay's Last Stand are included, as well as an Osama bin Laden capture, and John Kerry s Silver Star mission thrown in to boot.
This week s mission: No. 58 Assault on Iran. Special Forces soldiers infiltrate the nuclear facility at Natanz, Iran. The Republic of Iran is not amused. The Kayhan (Iran) daily, whose editor is appointed directly by Iran's Supreme Leader, has asked for the game to be removed. Kuma boss Keith Halper said he has no plans to take the game offline.
At a loss to explain the epic film 2001: A Space Odyssey?
A flash presentation at www.kubrick2001.com helps to break through the logjam of symbolism stacked high by director Stanley Kubrick and author Arthur C. Clarke in the 1968 Academy Award Winner.
Kubrick 2001: The Space Odyssey Explained waxes on the "evolutionary kick in the pants" provided by Captain Dave, HAL-9000, and the mysterious monolith.
With less than 40 minutes of dialogue in the entire film, and stirring versions of The Blue Danube Waltz and HAL s version of Daisy, you wouldn t peg 2001 as a scary Halloween film. But if you insist on an explanation for the 10-minute hallucinogenic sequence and Dave s trusty screwdriver then this flash movie points one in the right direction.