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Old 11-21-2005, 02:07 PM   #1
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The Cost of Light

Mirrors to Banish Town's Winter Darkness

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The sun has stopped shining in Rattenberg. But with the aid of a few mirrors, the winter darkness that grips this small town could soon be brightened up with pockets of sunshine.

That's because sun is plentiful less than 10 minutes' walk from the town and from Rat Mountain, the 3,000-foot hill that blocks its sunlight between November and February each year.

The solution: 30 heliostats, essentially rotating mirrors, mounted on a hillside to grab sunshine off reflectors from the neighboring village of Kramsach.
and

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The town 25 miles east of Innsbruck is Austria's smallest_ and getting smaller. Its population has dropped by about 20 percent to 440 in the last two decades, and both Peskoller and Mayor Franz Wurzenrainer attribute that at least in part to lack of sunshine.
The best investment of $2.4 Million?
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:05 PM   #2
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Re: The Cost of Light

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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Mirrors to Banish Town's Winter Darkness



and



The best investment of $2.4 Million?
I'd like it if I lived there. My psychiatrist specifically told me to get sunlight for its anti-depressant qualities, and he told me darkness causes depression. I'll bet this makes the workers more productive and there are other benefits as well.
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:22 PM   #3
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Maybe it's up to the people of that region or the taxpayers to decide what the best way to spend their own money is.
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:30 PM   #4
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Sunshine is very important.... but..... I don't really know about this . I'd take a ten minute walk to get some son, though, rather than pay more taxes.
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Old 11-21-2005, 04:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
I'd like it if I lived there. My psychiatrist specifically told me to get sunlight for its anti-depressant qualities, and he told me darkness causes depression. I'll bet this makes the workers more productive and there are other benefits as well.
I have seasonal affective disorder also. SAD is a quantifiable neurochemical disorder whose existence is not in question, and while only a minority experience serious problems because of it, most researchers in this area agree that *some* compromising of emotional and mental health in the absence of sunlight (the neurochemical imbalances characteristic of clinical depression also affect cognitive skills) is a nearly universal phemonenon. For example, suicide rates are significantly higher worldwide in areas with low sunlight for much of the year, particlularly the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, as are alcoholism and various other behavioral disorders.

Perhaps making full-spectrum fluorescent light panels (typically several hundred dollars each) available at drastically reduced cost to all who want them would have been a cheaper alternative. However, as research has found and as I can attest from personal experience, these are nowhere near as beneficial as increased exposure to real sunlight.
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Old 11-21-2005, 04:37 PM   #6
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^ this must be why no one in California seems much bothered by anything, really. all that sunshine ...
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Old 11-21-2005, 04:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Maybe it's up to the people of that region or the taxpayers to decide what the best way to spend their own money is.
Half is EU money.




And we get plenty of threads that question how much, where and when money is spent and on what.
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Old 11-21-2005, 06:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


Half is EU money.




And we get plenty of threads that question how much, where and when money is spent and on what.
Oh, OK. I still like the idea but of course I am not a resident of an EU country, and there's no way they could put this to a EU plebicite anyway. And yes, we've had plenty of debates about funding issues in this forum.
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Old 11-21-2005, 07:42 PM   #9
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Re: The Cost of Light

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Originally posted by nbcrusader
The best investment of $2.4 Million?
That's a rather small sum of money when it comes to government. Aren't we spending $230 million on a bridge in Alaska to serve 30 people? Gotta love Republican logic.

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Old 11-21-2005, 07:45 PM   #10
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Re: Re: The Cost of Light

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Originally posted by melon


That's a rather small sum of money when it comes to government. Aren't we spending $230 million on a bridge in Alaska to serve 30 people? Gotta love Republican logic.

Melon
I know our own budget is filled with pork - a sad history in its own right. Fortunately, the Alaskan "bridge to nowhere" got defunded.

Funny, how we ignore government spending items (even our own spending habits), then decry that half the population lives on $2/month.
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Old 11-21-2005, 07:55 PM   #11
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Re: The Cost of Light

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Originally posted by nbcrusader




The best investment of $2.4 Million?
Money has been spent on creating light for quite some time now.

This sounds like a more efficient way to achieve that goal
than using fossil fuels.
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Old 11-21-2005, 08:02 PM   #12
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It really doesnt, the efficiency of the electric light bulb is superior to that of the mirror which does not have ideal reflectivity, and the light bulb can work at night as well.
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Old 11-21-2005, 08:03 PM   #13
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Artificial lighting does not achieve the same biological effects as sunlight, you know that, A_W.
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Old 11-21-2005, 08:10 PM   #14
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But isn't light light? If I had an emiter that gave off all the wavelengths that reach the earths surface in the right ratios and had the intensity set at the right level it would be physically indistinguishable.

A regular light bulb of course is just a hot filament and does not do this.
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Old 11-21-2005, 08:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
But isn't light light? If I had an emiter that gave off all the wavelengths that reach the earths surface in the right ratios and had the intensity set at the right level it would be physically indistinguishable.
The Sun emits far more than just "visible light," which makes me think that there's something more to affecting SAD than just putting someone underneath a lamp. Even plants grow differently when grown with artificial light versus the real thing.

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