Culture, Fitness, and LEDs in Edinburgh

Last night, thousands of walkers and hundreds of runners in Edinburgh kicked off the Edinburgh International Festival with a remarkable synthesis of public art and fitness – NVA’s Speed of Light 2012. (The NVA is a Glasgow-based arts organization).

After nightfall in the city, the walkers and runners began to ascend in well timed groups to the 251 meter summit of the city’s iconic mountain: King Arthur’s Seat. The best part of all – these thousands of volunteers were decked out in LEDs. The light display was a layered and ever-changing feat choreographed to a score created by Resonance Radio Orchestra, wowing the entire city with its otherworldly beauty.

Here’s a photo of King Arthur’s Seat during the day:

Courtesy of

And here’s one of it during the festivities:

Courtesy of


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Good Night Moon, Good Night Stars, Good Night Spaceman

Astronauts in space. New research shows a fresh lighting scheme could help astronauts sleep better, and oh boy, do they need it.

Astronauts are allotted 8.5 hours for sleep out of every 24, but they actually average about 6 hours a night. Their leisure time is prone to occasional disruptions (emergency or docking procedures), plus there’s a new sunrise every 90 minutes, and of course that whole weightlessness thing. On month and even year-long missions (like the speculated 3 year voyage to Mars), it’s pretty darn easy to get frazzled.

When NASA announced they were planning to switch the space station’s outdated fluorescents to LEDs, Dr. George Brainard, a professor of neurology from Thomas Jefferson University, had a few ideas. Not only would the LEDs be more efficient and longer lasing than fluorescents, they could be beneficial for astronaut health. (more…)

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“Light Therapy” Could Improve Alzheimer’s Patients’ Sleep Patterns

Bed in the Morning
Did you know irregular light/dark patterns can disrupt your circadian rhythm? Not only that, a boggled circadian rhythm increases your risk of disease and reduces your quality of life. This is especially a problem for individuals with Alzheimer’s and related dementias (ADRD), because they spend more time indoors, exposed to lower light levels.

Irregular circadian patterns for individuals with Alzheimer’s or ADRD can become life-threatening if individuals leave their homes in the night and wander alone outside.

Light affects sleep patterns by acting on the retina (the part of the eye that’s sensitive to light) and syncing the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), the body’s master clock, to its own light/dark pattern. When we get enough sunlight, we sync up with the 24-hour solar day. When we’re not exposed to regular daily patterns of light, our sleep patterns go bonkers. (more…)

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Lighting Emmy Nominees Are In! Part 2

In the second part of this two-part post on this year’s Emmy nominees for TV’s outstanding lighting (read part 1 here), I’m going to discuss the nominees for a variety special. Like the nominees for a variety series, these are super impressive.

Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety Series

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2011

Confession time: I couldn’t help staring…at John Kusner and Matt Firestone’s brilliant lighting designs! Under the direction of Harry Sangmeister and Nick Collier, this show had enough flash and dramatics to make any lighting professional blush.

Nicki Minaj Performing at the VS Fashion Show 2011
Courtesy of

Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show Starring Madonna

The lighting in this astounding performance was really something to cheer about. There was so much going on in this show, I’m still reeling from the excitement of it all. Major credit goes to lighting designer Al Gurdon, and lighting directors Robert Barnhart, David Grill, and Michael Owen. (more…)

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Lighting Emmy Nominees Are In! Part 1

This year I’m seriously jazzed about the 2012 Emmy nominees – especially for Outstanding Lighting Design. Admittedly, I’m a sucker for theatrics (dating back to long before those college stage makeup classes and my Cirque du Soilel-level Halloween costumes) but honestly, these nominees are amazing. Here’s what the Academy has laid out for us this year:

Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety Series

So You Think You Can Dance

Last year’s winner is at it again, producing number after flashy number. Lighting designer Robert Barnhart along with lighting directors Matt Firestone, Pete Radice, and Patrick Boozer are ones to beat, for sure. Check out this dramatic jazz piece from the Season 8 finale, it’s truly unforgettable:


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What LEDs Can Do

Ah…the possibilities. In our July lighting roundup, we mentioned The Clean Revolution campaign, launched at the 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil. The campaign is advocating a massive scale-up of clean energy and infrastructure, along with smart technologies and design. In the next 3 years, The Clean Revolution plans to raise awareness about the success of low-carbon transformations.

The great minds at The Clean Revolution recently created this informative infographic about how much energy we can save with LEDs. We think it’s worth sharing.

Infographic: LEDs Lighting the Clean Revolution
To learn more, visit

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Pegasus Lighting Roundup: Moving Forward

In lighting news…

As of July 1 this year, T12 fluorescent bulbs have begun to disappear, no longer being manufactured or imported into the US. This phase-out has been a long time coming, as T12s have been around for over 70 years now. By switching to newer technology like T5s or T8s, building owners will save nearly 50% of the energy they normally use each year! These new lamps are smaller in diameter, but can still provide the same light output as a T12. For those building owners who still have T12 fixtures, it will become increasingly difficult to find replacement parts. Check out this article from on strategizing for the phase-out.

Meanwhile, everyone is going nutso for LEDs. But with the impressive energy-saving stats and new innovations, we don’t blame them. According to IMS Research, the widespread implementation of retrofit LED lights will save us $100 billion globally over the next 5 years. To learn more, read this article from

In June, at the Rio+20 U.N. development conference in Brazil, the Clean Revolution campaign began a trial in 12 major cities across the globe, testing the benefits and drawbacks of LED street lights. Each city has reduced energy use up to 85%! (more…)

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Pittsburgh Landmark Finds a New Lease on Light

Many Pittsburgh natives fondly recall the weather beacon atop the Gulf Tower with its flashing neon lights that indicated the weather forecast. The security guard in the building’s lobby would read the weather report in the local paper and switch the lights to red or blue, solid or blinking.

However, this six story pyramid’s neon display used as much energy as 24 homes, and during the energy crisis in the ‘70s, Gulf Oil decided to turn off the lights. When the crisis was over, the lights no longer worked.

Fast-forward a few decades: the building’s owners, inspired by the Empire State Building’s LED displays, decided to reignite the much adored landmark. With new LED technology, the award-winning lighting duo Chris Popowich and Cindy Limauro have enhanced the tower’s former glory with 730 foot-long strips of LEDs that can dazzle in a rainbow of colors.

The newly named KDKA-TV Weather Beacon usually provides a detailed weather display of Pittsburgh’s current conditions including temperature, precipitation, humidity, and wind speed:

Gulf Tower Weather Beacon Guide
Courtesy of

The beacon also puts on special displays for holidays and sports celebrations.

The new KDKA-TV Weather Beacon debuted on July 4, 2012, and it was a happy and nostalgic occasion for Pittsburghers everywhere – including a few at here at Pegasus! This video shows the tower’s impressive patriotic display.

For more on this beloved beacon, read the full story here.

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Six Things to Think About Before Installing Solar Panels

Solar Panels on a Roof

Recently, my wife’s uncle added solar panels to his roof  to reduce his electric bill, and in some cases, actually sell back unused electricity. This was the first time I saw this in action, and I came away impressed. So, when I received this guest blog post from Randy Piccoli, of Jerry’s Roofing and Siding, an expert in the exterior remodeling field, I thought it would be valuable information for you, our blog readers. Thanks so much Randy!

For many people, solar panels are becoming an increasingly popular way to provide the home with much needed energy while reducing energy bills. If it’s something you’ve considered for your own home, it helps to know just how you can get the right solar panel set up for your own home.

Because the practice of adopting solar panels is still gaining popularity all over, you might have a few questions about them and what they can do for you. Don’t worry, because we’ll use this post to look at solar panels, what you need to look for, and how they can help you save money on your electricity in the long run.

1. Think About Your Home’s Roof

There is a wide range of roofing material out there and not everything is right for solar panels. If, for instance, your home has roofing made of clay tile or slate, then installation won’t work.

Solar panels are also harder to install on rooftops made of wood shakes and concrete, so you may face a higher than normal installation cost if your roof material falls under any of those categories.

Roof design is also a factor, as solar panels are easiest to install on rooftops with slopes that aren’t too steep. (more…)

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Hope is Here for the Rare Earth Elements Crisis

Molycorp's Rare Earth Mine in California
Molycorp's Mountain Pass Mine, Producing Rare Earth Materials in California. Photo Courtesy of

If you’ve read any of our previous posts on the rare earth elements situation, you know that China’s stranglehold on the market has caused the prices of fluorescent light bulbs to increase dramatically.

Today, China controls more than 95% of rare earth elements—some of which are crucial in the making of fluorescent light bulbs. China’s production cap on the mining of rare earth elements is meant to crack down on illegal manufacturing, but by doing so it’s also limiting the output of the green tech industry, among others.  See: Why are CFLs Becoming More Expensive? and Will the Future of Fluorescent Lighting be Shaky?

But now there’s light (no pun intended) at the end of the tunnel. According to this article on, an end to China’s monopoly might finally happen. It seems China’s latest increased export restrictions have caused the U.S., E.U., and Japan to spring into action.

As I write, 35 new rare earth projects are taking shape beyond Chinese borders, including mines in California and Canada. The possibilities are exciting—up to 20% of rare earth materials may be produced outside of China in less than 10 years. Additionally, domestic production of these elements has the potential to increase product innovation in the U.S., reinvigorate our manufacturing industry, and lower prices for consumers.

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