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Happy New Year!

This year we put LED lights (light emitting diode) on our Christmas tree. The bulbs are not as large as the bulbs I remember from my youth, nor as tiny as the fairy lights that have been so popular in recent years. What makes them unique and desirable is the fact that they use only a quarter of the electricity of incandescent bulbs.

We noticed that the quality of light is different. LEDs are not as bright as incandescent bulbs – which is one reason they are not yet ready to replace fluorescent light bulbs. Still, they are very pretty and we thought our tree looked like it was garlanded with bright gumdrops.

These efficient LED lights are certainly in the news and various uses are being found. I heard that some municipalities have started using LED traffic lights, but an unintended consequence is that snow and ice can cover the stop light and make them ineffective. LEDs do not generate enough heat to melt the snow and ice that can accumulate.

However, their lack of heat is not a detriment on the Christmas tree. Nor was it a detriment when 9,576 LED bulbs were set int0 the 672 Waterford crystal triangles in the Times Square New Years Eve ball that marked the start of 2008. The press said the celebration went green on this, its 100th anniversary, by using LEDs. I did not see any comment about how green the thousands of tons of confetti are. Workers and machinery were on duty for clean up as soon as the revellers left Times Square, but I did not see any mention of recycling all that paper.

Oh well, baby steps, baby steps. They all count as we try to conserve our energy and resources in 2008. Happy New Year!

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