Monday, October 27, 2008
though amazon seems to have some cheaper options like this
Current cons include: jerkiness of on and off, having to wait for lights to flicker on (esp. fluorescents), extra costs of the sensor switch, sensor switch getting blocked by furniture, sensor switches getting turned on by pets or breezes outdoors. Also the first one I link to, a certain percentage will die after some amount of time and require replacement.
Note that the replacement switches are the most unobtrusive, but they don't always lend to ideal placement for the sensor. Also you need an electrician to do the replacement (though certain electrical engineers I know have done the replacements yourself, though I don't recommend it as death or hair standing on it's end can occur -- remember once you let the smoke out of your electrical system it's very hard to get it back)
My motion sensor dream:
Switch would have off, auto, 10% auto, and on.
Auto would leave the light off until motion is detected, it would quickly ramp the light from 0 to 100%.
10% auto would leave the light at 10% (so you can vaguely see and not trip) and quickly ramp to 100% when motion is detected.
When leaving a room it would gradually lower the light from 100% to either 10 or 0% depending on the setting.
I think these features would eliminate a lot of the issues that people have with motion sensors lights.
Also, a lot of houses have motion sensors already for alarms, can we build off that somehow? For that matter the alarms also know when you enter and leave a house, that could tie in to a turn off all the lights when you leave sort of scenario.
For those with incandescent sockets: screw in motion sensor
or those with plug in lamps: pluggable motion sensor
Please note that I didn't do extensive searching on amazon for the best, I just found the ones I originally bought and amazon recommended the other 3.
Note, there are cheaper generic versions of these sensors findable on google products results, though they are from unknown suppliers and unknown stores, but please report back with your findings and let us know good ones that are cheap!
Well, actually it's quite a neat gizmo—it's battery powered, and simply mounts directly over a light switch, which it then throws for you if it doesn't detect movement in front of its sensor. Plus it turns the lights on when you enter.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Here are some interesting facts about Boeing 767s:
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Please somebody be less lazy than me and read the original article and tell me I'm wrong and these turn off when nobody is moving around them...
UPDATE looking at the page translated by google for the product it doesn't seem like they turn off the lights when no motion. Booo.
Still though, it's nice that they are touting the low energy consumption
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
However, as always, I say make the changes that make the most sense.
When I heard a friend describe a relative as complaining about the 55mph minimum speed limit being too high because he wanted to drive his prius slower, I had to address mpg vs. speed here.
Each car has it's own mileage to speed continuum. However, for most cars it looks something like the graph below from fueleconomy where it starts to go down after a certain point.
A large factor in this is wind resistance, so cars that are like big air dams (pickup trucks cough cough) are going to have a lower speed at which mileage begins to decrease rapidly. More aerodynamic cars like the prius are going to have a higher point. A forum poster graphed his mileage in the prius here http://www.greenhybrid.com/discuss/f10/mpg-vs-speed-hybrid-driving-strategy-14276/ and claims that the speed of diminishing fuel savings is around 70mph.
So yes, you get better fuel mileage driving more slowly, but it really depends on the speed. So slowing down from 75 to 70 will save in just about any car. Slowing down from 65-60 in some cars, and 55 to 45 will not save nearly as much) Wind resistance goes up as the square of the speed so the higher the speed you'll use significantly more. This is why race cars are so intent on drafting (though I don't recommend drafting on semis, you don't get very good gas mileage when they have to slam on their brakes and you end up smashed, though I guess if you survive and are attached to their truck and your back wheels still work and you are going where they are...)
Plus as always here at "tha metric" we have to consider the other external costs. What about the drivers with road rage behind you that have to make an extra trip to the hospital for their blood pressure? c.f. Denis Leary's song lyrics: "I drive really slow in the ultra fast lane
While people behind me are going insane"
and would you do more for the environment by getting there 10 minutes earlier and spending those ten minutes planting a tree?
Answer due in homework bin by friday.
PS to clarify any agenda you may think I have or do not have, I generally drive the speed limit, as I think speed differential is dangerous but I also want to get there today and not use too much gas.
While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.
You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.30 per gallon for gas.
It uses the principles of biofeedback (which in my mind are: that which we can measure we can learn to control) to try to get us to save gas. It tells us our current mpg, logs it and records it in novel ways to give us driving challenges.
I have found my own little obsessive game with my trip odometer which tells me average mileage, which I have stopped resetting so that I have less control over the mileage so I don't spend my whole drive worrying (little changes with large divisor make littler changes).
An even simpler game comes with the "eco mode" light. a little green indicator that tells me my car is using only 3 of it's cylinders. I recall that toyota has decided to put "eco mode" lights in all their cars (saying when you are using small amounts of gas) as they have found people drive better when they are reminded they are doing well. question of the day: compliment people when they are eating a little and they will lose weight?
Anyway, this new product provides even more encouragement for you to lose weight on the foot pedal (metaphorically speaking).
However it will lose weight in your wallet as well.
At $299 (cnet offers an alternative product that does less for $169) I would have to save 10% of my gas mileage in order to pay back the $299 in a year (assuming 10000 miles driven and 32mpg, your mileage may vary )
By plugging into a vehicle's diagnostic port, it can display miles per gallon as well as trip information and even the cause of engine problems.
But really it's designed to make your driving habits more energy-efficient.
The PLX Kiwi shows off feedback on how you're doing in that regard and gives you a "kiwi score." It's also programmed with 20 increasingly difficult challenges to optimize your score.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Especially with LEDs that are quick to turn on and off (unlike high pressure sodium vapor) and LEDs are dimmable (when no motion only use 1 in 10 LEDs)
Saturday, May 31, 2008
I recall reading somewhere they have purchased 200 or so (a small percentage of their fleet anyway).
But certainly it seems like local delivery trucks are an area where hybrids would be more resource conserving than highway driving
Friday, May 30, 2008
Of course that's assuming people would be driving if they weren't flying and ignores the fact that google says it's 42 hours driving time so there would most likely be some rest stops, hotel stays, food etc.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
However on the flip side, I have enjoyed flying over our beautiful country staring out the window, and the shapes of our cities outlined by lights is as entertaining as the view of all the landforms (and both are more than the in flight movie that has been very edited for objectionable content)!
I often try to take pictures of the lights of the city as we are landing but the exposures are so slow that the lights blur (though that can be a cool effect -- see images at left )
Anyway, I have seen cities that look like neuronal cells, cities that are very grid based, cities that clearly illustrate the underlying geographic forms and cities that outline new development by the color temperature of the newer streetlights. But I haven't been able to capture these images to share. However NASA seems to have figured out a stable platform from which to take these pictures (they are a bit higher orbit than united airlines flies!)
Note: images are copyright bryn forbes 2007
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Speaking of giant sized hybrids that are yellow, GE is making hybrid dump trucks. Now that's what I need for the trips to the grocery store!
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I found out a friend works for a company that make hybrid school buses!
Check em out here
they claim 70% improvement!!!
I hesitate to mention this in case people buying hummers think they can be green (or in this case yellow) and have a hybrid SUV (schoolbus utility vehice)
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
New CFLs have less than 1.5 milligrams of mercury (normal have 5mg). (There's a snide remark about tuna having more in here somewhere -- though I'm refraining since I don't have data for fish bulbs)
Though you have to worry when technology starts to integrate other gadgets (alarm clock/golf bag anyone?) so maybe CFL manufacturers are starting to worry since one is making a CFL that makes your room less smelly (sure to be sold at sharper image if it wasn't bankrupt)
Treehugger reports on a 13W LED bulb as replacement for incancdescents.
It's interesting that it so much more efficient than an incandescent (which wastes most energy as heat) but has a fan inside of it to reduce heat.
They also tout other features of LED long life bulb, less mercury than cfl, etc.
But cost cost cost cost cost?
How many watts hours of solar electricity could you buy for the cost of this bulb?
Thursday, April 24, 2008
This was a cameraphone pic I shot in the hallway of a very very large apartment building in mid town manhattan. Every other light fixture was motion sensitive. Most of the lights near the elevators were constantly on but the ones near the ends would definitely be off most of the time.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
UPDATE: I showed my texas geography ignorance and slandered houston, my apologies!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Infosthetics notes a idea to project how much energy a city is using on the plume of a coal power plant for all to see.
Electrimetric was created with the idea that if we know how much energy we use, and see feedback based on changes, we will reduce our resource consumption. The question is would this help because it reminds people how much energy they are using? or hurt because they see turning off their light is just a cigarette amongst the coal power plants pollution.
It seems like you could do this via a web page reporting how much energy your city is using, and I'm sure there are things like this out there. Avid readers, send those links in!
Monday, April 7, 2008
A friend was telling me about her father who would proclaim himself "Dark Vader" with an innovative power saving technique. If she or her family left the lights on, he would unscrew and take the lightbulb. Certainly solves the problem of leaving the lights on from then on out! I guess you'd learn pretty quick or else you would leave the switch on all the time but not use any energy (hope you ate your carrots!)
Apologies to the folks at Buy Star Wars Costumes for the bastardization of their image.
Also the artists at
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
I've wanted something like this for a long time. It's just a concept, but would be very cool. I would want to make sure that the monitors don't end up using more power than you'd be able to save by having the information, but for a quantitative data geek like me, cooooool. The Greener Grass via
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
writes with measurements of the older revision of the playstation 3 to compare to the new revision in the 40GB PS3 posted here
Note the interesting difference between cold start and hot start on booting. Are there really 15 watts or more of fans running? Wow!
PS3 (60GB, one of the latest manufactured)
Booting (cold): 140-145, max 156
Booting (hot): 158-160
Menu (XMB) (cold): 156 at login screen, 163 after logged in and ticker tape running.
Menu (XMB) (hot): 167-169 waiting to login, 175 after logged in w ticker tape running.
Resistance Fall of Man: Cut Scenes: 163-164
Playing first level of RFOM: 180-185, peak 190
RFOM paused: 158-159
Loading Bluray/Menu: 169
play Bluray (House of Flying Daggers ch 14): 169-172
30x Fast Forward: 167-169
Paused bluray: 166-167
Running Folding @ Home: 191 w/ active visualization, 175 screensaved
Web page loading sony store page: 167-169
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Engadget reports on a compact fluorescent lightbulb with a motion sensor built in to detect motion up to 25 feet away