I See a Bad Light Rising

So this has been sitting in a tab for awhile waiting for me to look at it:
Biochemist creates CO2-eating light that runs on algae

scientist with a glowing green lamp tube

You too can pretend you’re on a circa-1980s scifi spaceship with these throughout your home. Look soon to Etsy for handmade decals you can add to make it look like there are alien-human hybrid fetuses growing inside. Okay, I actually kind of want that.

I’m guessing we’d need a lot of creepy green lamps to make up for general vehicle use. I’m not holding my CO2-laden breath until I see something beyond kitschy articles with small-scale artsy stuff. Show me an actual real-world implementation by a city and I’ll be impressed.

Until then, I’m with John Metcalfe of The Atlantic on this when he says, “I would also imagine that the weight of these watery devices would prevent many overhead applications. Vandalism would have to be taken into consideration, too, as bad children would probably love nothing more than to crack the glass with a stone and see the green goo pour forth.” Exactly.

And while on the topic of streetlights, I also don’t buy the idea that people will – in sufficient numbers – help power street lights with treadmills or exercise bikes either. I mean I care about these issues and I’m not going to take time out of my busy day to go cycle at a light. And even if I did, what about the other ten zillion lights? You can bet they’d be powered in the neighborhoods of the rich and privileged much more than in working-class areas, contributing yet more to the disparity in crime prevention by geographic area.

I’m glad people come up with weird, out-of-the-lightbox ideas on how to solve problems. I recognize that there have to be a lot of wacky ideas before something truly useful comes out. But I’m calling algae lights for the wacky pile for now.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 at 2:27 pm and is filed under Environmental News, Environmental Trends, Well Meaning Initiatives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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