01/06/09 - Christmas in a Jar

This little lamp doesn't look like much. It fits inside a little jam jar which happens to have two flat faces. The works include a battery, six LEDs and two mercury switches. Upright the lights are off, but as you rotate the jar the red and green LEDs go on and off. Rest it on one face to see red. Rest it on the other to see green. If you turn it just right all of the LEDs glow red and green. What could be more Christmas-y than that?

It doesn't look like much in broad daylight.

One angle turns on the green LEDs.

Another angle turns on the red LEDs.

Keywords: lamps, science, christmas

01/01/09 - Remote Controlled LED Lamp

Our multi-color LED candle lost its green a while back, and they don't make multi-color LED candles anymore, but we recently got our hands on one of those remote controlled LED lightbulbs and built a lamp out of it. Now we have something even better, a multi-color remote controlled LED lamp, and all it took was the LED bulb itself, $10 worth of hardware, a glue gun, wire strippers and a screwdriver. The picture should give you an idea of the effect. To find out more, take a look at our multi-color remote control LED lamp build page.

Keywords: lamps, science, kale

05/13/07 - Thomas Edison: Inventor of the Light Switch

We were driving out to Lake Ozette and trying to figure out how to use the cruise control. We think we found the enable switch, because some green light on the console did light up as we remembered, but we just couldn't figure out how to tell the cruise control to actually engage. Cruise control ties up three buttons on the steering wheel, and surely it could be made simpler to use.

While struggling, we pondered why these things are so hard, and why it takes someone like Steve Jobs to make simple things simple. Perhaps, we considered, Thomas Edison's greatest invention wasn't the light bulb, but the light switch. Candles require a match, or a flint box, to light. Oil lamps, and even gas lamps, are no better. If you wanted electric lights, you had to power up the generator, and that probably made starting up a lawn mower look simple.

What Edison did was invent the light switch. Push it one way to turn the light on. Push it the other way to turn the light off. That's sort of amazing. It's really simple.

Keywords: science, lamps

The Promenade for Julia lamp

11/26/06 - How to Build a K'Nex Promenade Lamp

One of our site visitors asked how to build one of these lamps, so we uploaded some photos and diagrams to help out. This is a really pretty lamp, and not that hard to make.

For the photographs and diagrams, click here.

More construction

Under construction

Inside the controller

Keywords: k'nex, science, lamps