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If I Could Have Light In A Bottle
August 3, 2011 6:03 AM   Subscribe

MIT students created water bottle light bulbs that diffract natural sunlight and provide the equivalent of a 55 watt light bulb out of an empty plastic bottle, water, and a few drops of bleach. They are being installed and used in shanty towns where no natural light gets into the makeshift tin roof homes.
posted by COD (74 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
I recall seeing this maybe over a year ago, not involving MIT at all, but rather some rural farmer who created it.
posted by odinsdream at 6:07 AM on August 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


How do you turn it off?
posted by ootsocsid at 6:08 AM on August 3, 2011


Brilliant.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:10 AM on August 3, 2011


For years I've put a small flashlight up to the clear plastic water jug we use when camping. It works beautifully. Soft glowing, diffused light in the evening.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:10 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Always neat to see stuff like this re-purposed into something useful. Reminds me a bit of the SODIS project, which uses PET-plastic bottles as solar water purifiers.
posted by jquinby at 6:11 AM on August 3, 2011


How do you turn it off?

It's on a timer that turns off every night ;)

Seriously though, I guess you'd just cover it with something if you wanted to block the light in the day?
posted by COD at 6:12 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Excellent!

Btw, for those who can't view the video in that article ("not available in your country"), there's a Reuters video that works for me in France on the Isang Litrong Liwanag site.
posted by fraula at 6:12 AM on August 3, 2011


Odinsdream: I, too, was first introduced to this idea through this video
posted by cubby at 6:14 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


They've invented the deck prism!
posted by TedW at 6:15 AM on August 3, 2011 [24 favorites]


isn't this just more of a "window" then a "light bulb"?

and, bottles embedded in structures to provide light have been used for quite awhile. The water addition is new-er (to me), but I kinda doubt MIT was the first to come up with it.
posted by edgeways at 6:17 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


This post is as thin as the wall of a plastic bottle, unless the unstated implication is that MIT students invented a time machine and went back to Brazil in 2007 and gave that dude the idea.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:20 AM on August 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


A cool idea, but I don't think overselling it like that helps. The fact that this light bulb does not really produce any light is just too easy a target for my inner cynic.

Also, do we have any links to the study that came up with the idea? Creating a robust solution out of available materials is a very interesting subject. For example, what happens when the sun evaporates the water in the closed bottle on a hot summer day? Have they looked at whether the cap will pop off before the plastic bottle sealed to a hot tin roof fails?
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:22 AM on August 3, 2011


Why don't they just get some of those frosted plastic corrugated sheets? Are they really that expensive compared to the metal ones?
posted by echo target at 6:22 AM on August 3, 2011


See also: deck prisms.
posted by alby at 6:22 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I might be a litre of light today, but in a couple of years, it looks like it'll be whole bucket o' leaking roof.
posted by scruss at 6:23 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think calling this a "Light Bulb" is a bit of a stretch.... particularly when using bottles and shards of glass as windows is not entirely uncommon.
posted by mary8nne at 6:23 AM on August 3, 2011


You are a poor, uneducated resident of a shanty town in a 3rd world country. Somebody hangs a clear bottle through your roof that brings more light into your home. Are you going to associate that clear, roughly oval shaped bottle with a

A) Light bulb - which are probably familiar with
B) Window - of which your home has none.
c) Deck Prism - which you've probably never heard of.
posted by COD at 6:28 AM on August 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


MIT!
posted by BeerFilter at 6:31 AM on August 3, 2011


I'm building a simple playhouse for a kid and will install one of these!
posted by mareli at 6:40 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, apparently, MIT students have learned about this Google thing?
posted by Skeptic at 6:43 AM on August 3, 2011


I hate the fact that it takes MIT to say they "created" the water filled plastic bottle of water stuck in a roof. Example number 8 billion of common sense trumping any sort of engineering whatsoever.

Full disclosure: I'm a mechanical engineer.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:44 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are you going to associate that clear, roughly oval shaped bottle with a

COD: I was all set to be a bit snarky about the term "light bulb", then you nailed it exactly.
posted by eriko at 7:01 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


People living in those homes probably have stared at their ceiling a thousand times and thought of this very idea. The issue they would have run into was a lack of tools to put the bottle in the ceiling without causing leaks.
posted by papercrane at 7:11 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is a deck prism, mmmaybe a light pipe if you stretch a bit. It is not a lightbulb, and insisting that it be called one spreads darkness and not light.

Words mean things.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:20 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


It is not a lightbulb, and insisting that it be called one spreads darkness and not light.
The ship’s hull is a great cavernous space filled with darkbulbs that emit nothing but darkness. It is filled with machines “Far Too Complicated To Describe.” The Cultmaster tells them that the point of the machines is to ruin the stories of the Sea.
posted by odinsdream at 7:26 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Words mean things.

Aaaaand we're off....
posted by The Bellman at 7:31 AM on August 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm building a simple playhouse for a kid and will install one of these!

If the playhouse is in a place that gets freezing temperatures, put a bunch of alcohol in the water, or you'll see a broken bottle.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:40 AM on August 3, 2011


You are a poor, uneducated resident of a shanty town in a 3rd world country.

poor, uneducated != idiot

Even they must be familiar with the concept of sunlight.
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:47 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why don't they just get some of those frosted plastic corrugated sheets? Are they really that expensive compared to the metal ones?

Prices in developed countries aren't really applicable, but FWIW, I can't find any corrugated metal panels that cost less than plastic corrugated skylight panels, (and the plastic panels are designed to diffuse light to enhance illumination)

Perhaps shantys are built from a massive supply of scrap/salvage roofing that never includes skylight material, but mixing some plastic with the iron panels does seem like it should be the less labour intensive, brighter, and more durable approach than bottles.

Clearly the bottles have their place though.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:48 AM on August 3, 2011


Words mean things.
Oh yeah, smart guy? Then what does defract mean?

</joke>
posted by roystgnr at 7:51 AM on August 3, 2011


The MIT press release linked in the article does not mention "light bulbs" and is a href="http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2007/smith-talk.html">dated April 2007. Does the video make the MIT-light bulb link more explicit? (I can't watch it ATM) I don't see anyone at MIT claiming involvement with this, just the Filipino "social entrepreneur" and his organization.
posted by maryr at 7:57 AM on August 3, 2011


I'm kind of astonished at the snark fest I here. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that even poor people in developing countries have heard of sunlight and holes in the roof.

The part of this that is innovative and interesting is the use of the bottles in particular ---- given their ubiquity, and the fact that the local coca-cola bottling plant is pumping out millions of the things per day, even people living on a dollar a day should be able to get them for free, which I doubt is the case for frosted plastic paneling or what have you. Second, because the water and the shape of the container combine to diffuse the light 360, you're getting a lot of light spread out to a big section of the dwelling by cutting a very small hole. About the only bit of this I can see costing money is the sealant, but that would have to be used in any case and probably in much greater quantities for skylight or plastic panel of some sort. This is fucking nifty, man.
posted by Diablevert at 8:03 AM on August 3, 2011 [20 favorites]


This is the internet, Diablevert. Getting the credit right and haggling over word choice is more important than stories of practical repercussions on people's lives.
posted by phearlez at 8:09 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I wonder about the sealant cost. Anything that'll stand up to rain and tropical sun is going to have to be expensive if it's not going to leak in a year. And you actually don't need any sealant for corrugated panels; the corrugations direct the water downward, so as long as you put them up so that the upper panels overlap the lower ones, you shouldn't have leaks. That's why I wonder why they can't get plastic panels if it's possible for them to get metal ones.
posted by echo target at 8:09 AM on August 3, 2011


This is a deck prism, mmmaybe a light pipe if you stretch a bit. It is not a lightbulb, and insisting that it be called one spreads darkness and not light.

This is a light bulb. Insisiting that poor people call it what you want them to call it spreads annoyingness, and misses the whole point of this . The point of using 2-liter bottles filled with bleach-water to illuminate dark-ass shanty towns is NOT to teach them science vocabulary terms. It's to give poor people free light.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:11 AM on August 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


> B) Window - of which your home has none.

Um. There have been windows for many thousands of years longer than there has been anything transparent to go in them. Same with doors.
posted by jfuller at 8:14 AM on August 3, 2011


About the only bit of this I can see costing money is the sealant, but that would have to be used in any case and probably in much greater quantities for skylight or plastic panel of some sort.

Skylight panels require no more sealant than the regular panels, because they are just regular panels, they're just made from a different (cheaper?) material.

I'm sure there is a reason why they're building homes without skylight panels, but sealant is not that reason.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:16 AM on August 3, 2011


Perhaps shantys are built from a massive supply of scrap/salvage roofing that never includes skylight material, but mixing some plastic with the iron panels does seem like it should be the less labour intensive, brighter, and more durable approach than bottles.

You're thinking about this all backward. The fact that they gone around and installed 10 million of theses things is pretty decent evidence that most people who make shanty towns don't have access to skylight material to make their roofs. If they did, I'm pretty sure when the guy shoewd up at their home to put bleach-water-bottles in their roof, they'd just say "No thanks, I already have a skylight."
posted by 23skidoo at 8:24 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


A) Light bulb - which are probably familiar with
B) Window - of which your home has none.
c) Deck Prism - which you've probably never heard of.


seriously, this could just as easily, and perhaps more accurately been written as:

A) Light bulb - of which your home has none
B) Window - which are probably familiar with
c) Deck Prism - which you've probably never heard of.


Windows do not need glazing to be windows, and this is just a rejiggered window. It does serve a purpose, and is a nifty, and good idea, not an OMG MIT is sooo smart idea (because, in part, it has been done before), but still decent, if (as people have alluded to) the puncture in your roof does not start leaking, the bottle itself does not get punctured and drain away, the sealant is robust and cheap enough to do the job, and so on. Without snark, I am ambivalent. If it works it works. However, I kind of would like to see something follow up on it 2, 4 , 6 years beyond the squeee-we're-so-smart-in-using-trash-to-help-poor-folks stage. does it turn out to be a big pain int he neck after a year or two? Does it work wonderfully? etc etc.
posted by edgeways at 8:25 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I wonder about the sealant cost. Anything that'll stand up to rain and tropical sun is going to have to be expensive if it's not going to leak in a year.

I'm not sure the sealant is the time-limiting factor here. Most any sealant is going to have better life expectancy than the plastic in a 2L bottle when exposed to daily sun. Based on my experience with outdoor plastic things when I was growing up in Miami I'd expect those bottles to need replacing before a white caulk sealant.

I'm sure there is a reason why they're building homes without skylight panels, but sealant is not that reason.

Mostly asked and answered, I think, but to put it succinctly they're building without skylight panels because they don't have skylight panels. Most shantytown construction is done with whatever can be scrounged up and repaired the same way. You can see this picture from the photo essay of Haiti linked elsewhere in the blue today the use of tarps that were provided by Samaritan's Purse. The nature of shanty construction is that it'll be piecemeal repaired as needed.

So putting on a clear panel, even if someone were to show up and pass them about, isn't really conducive to the construction and certainly isn't easy to do if you're dealing with a structure that's already got 7 layers of patches on it.

Cutting or drilling a hole through an existing roof, however, and creating a hole that something else could just be nailed on top of when the bottle cracks and leaks because of sun damage? Far more workable.
posted by phearlez at 8:29 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm imagining a sexy scenario where someone slowly removes their sock and covers the plastic bottle with it in a very suggestive way.
posted by orme at 8:31 AM on August 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm gonna go drill a hole in my ceiling right now. That way I can mooch off my upstairs neighbor's light, even at night!
posted by adamdschneider at 8:31 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]




Well, as others have pointed out, corrugated iron doesn't need sealant. If you arrange it to overhang the frame and create eaves, I'm not sure what you'd need beyond some way of tying it onto the frame. I was comparing the amount of sealant you'd neeed to put in a skylight panel -- a panel which provided equivalent light would have to be substantially bigger, I'd think, because it would't diffuse 360 the way it does with the rounded bottle.

posted by Diablevert at 8:44 AM on August 3, 2011


Shanty towns are notoriously insecure living environments. Solid roofs=longevity, security of meager possessions, and physical security. Tin shacks are hot, but at least in raging heat, they are not going to be hot houses with plastic roofs. The bottles transfer light, but not heat. Let there be light, or light bulbs, the electric industry does not own the patent on the name "light bulb." It is anti-propaganda to turn green initiatives into word wars, for future spin. We ought to be using deck prisms all over the place to light up marginal areas, especially where there is outdoor lighting, street lighting at work, under bridges, urban walkways, stairwells, closets, you name it.
posted by Oyéah at 8:44 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't see anyone at MIT claiming involvement with this, just the Filipino "social entrepreneur" and his organization.

Who has a surprisingly professional-looking website and also appears to have lifted the "Litre of Light" name from the Brazilian charity originally propagating the idea. Hmm, this is starting to sound like a very professional PR scheme.
posted by Skeptic at 8:45 AM on August 3, 2011


Well, as others have pointed out, corrugated iron doesn't need sealant. If you arrange it to overhang the frame and create eaves, I'm not sure what you'd need beyond some way of tying it onto the frame. I was comparing the amount of sealant you'd neeed to put in a skylight panel

Zero. You need zero sealant for a skylight panel because it's the same corrugated shape as the corrugated iron panels, and the same water run-off physics and frame-attachment methods apply. A skylight panel is a regular sheet of corrugated iron that just happens to diffuse light instead of reflecting it.

posted by -harlequin- at 8:55 AM on August 3, 2011


The bottles transfer light, but not heat.

Ooh, good point.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:57 AM on August 3, 2011


Bottles=not as much heat as 2'x4' sheet of corrugated plastic.
posted by Oyéah at 9:00 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bottle walls have been around for a long time.

It's odd that this house isn't in the wiki article.
posted by warbaby at 9:08 AM on August 3, 2011


If the playhouse is in a place that gets freezing temperatures, put a bunch of alcohol in the water, or you'll see a broken bottle.

You might also want to put a little Bitrex in there in case the kids get ideas about drinking the stuff.
posted by jedicus at 9:09 AM on August 3, 2011


It's a light bulb. It just isn't an electric light bulb.
posted by Babblesort at 9:38 AM on August 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Um. There have been windows for many thousands of years longer than there has been anything transparent to go in them

If these particular homes had windows they wouldn't need to fashion plastic bottles into magical light emitting devices that may or may not be properly called a light bulb. The whole point here is these homes have no natural light coming in, and no electricity to create light.
posted by COD at 9:57 AM on August 3, 2011


They're going to need to apply for a building code variance before they start making big holes in roofs like that.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:58 AM on August 3, 2011


Developed by students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Um, no. Developed (if that is the right word) by Alfredo Moser in 2002 in Brazil. (SLYT)
posted by J.W. at 9:59 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


The bottles will transmit heat as well as light, just not much. Because they are tiny.

A large translucent panel on your roof would have you roasting in the summer anywhere in the world. So would a large panel made entirely of water-filled bottles (although the thermal mass would make it perform a little differently).

And by my definition, light bulbs create light, not transmit it. Electric, chemical, radioactive, if you can't turn it on at night, it's not a light bulb. This is an itty bitty skylight.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. But come on. Calling it a light bulb is just marketing, regardless of who its intended users are.
posted by Casimir at 9:59 AM on August 3, 2011


Cool! A light bulb that only works during the day! Now all I need is a tube of non-stick glue, a pair of open-toed wading boots and a few Zunes.
posted by w0mbat at 10:04 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dr Dracator writes "For example, what happens when the sun evaporates the water in the closed bottle on a hot summer day? Have they looked at whether the cap will pop off before the plastic bottle sealed to a hot tin roof fails?"

The cap isn't going to pop off. People use pet bottles to sterilize water in full sun; these bottles are half shaded. The water won't evaporate because it is in a sealed container. Even if the internal temperature of the bottle was to rise to scalding temperatures you won't get significant steam production, certainly not enough to over pressure the bottle compared to the forces exerted by carbonation.

echo target writes "Why don't they just get some of those frosted plastic corrugated sheets? Are they really that expensive compared to the metal ones?"

Even if the plastic panels were equally available the solar gain from a clean panel is probably reason enough not to use them.

Kirth Gerson writes "If the playhouse is in a place that gets freezing temperatures, put a bunch of alcohol in the water, or you'll see a broken bottle."

PET bottles filled with water can be repeatedly frozen without failure as long as you leave some head space free.
posted by Mitheral at 10:26 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


w0mbat writes "Cool! A light bulb that only works during the day!"

If I had the choice of living in a dark box 24X7 and living in a box that was lit for 12 hours a day I know which I'd choose.
posted by Mitheral at 10:28 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


PET bottles filled with water can be repeatedly frozen without failure...

Did he say he was using a plastic bottle? If it were me, I'd use glass, so I wouldn't have to replace it when the plastic degraded. Glass with some kind of antifreeze in it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:42 AM on August 3, 2011


Calling it a light bulb is just marketing, regardless of who its intended users are.

If you watch the video for all of TEN SECONDS and see what the end result looks like it will be brutally obvious why "lightbulb" is a thousand times more descriptive of what it looks like than "window."
posted by phearlez at 12:34 PM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's a light bulb. It just isn't an electric light bulb.

It's not a light bulb, it's a lit bulb.
posted by banshee at 12:57 PM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


So I've been pondering the etymology of light bulb and the idea that this is a light bulb as it is a bulbous object from which light emanates vs. the concept that a light bulb is only a light bulb if it generates light itself.

After much pondering I've come to the conclusion that if you read or say the word bulb more than five or six times it starts to look really weird and loses all meaning. bulb bulb bulb blub bubl
posted by Babblesort at 1:18 PM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


If your using propylene glycol for anti-freeze, if the bleach mixes, it will destablize the bleach and could cause a reaction. Not sure on types of alcohol but ethylene can have the same reaction.

Metafilter:Re-inventing the lightbulb.

It's a Popbulb
posted by clavdivs at 1:30 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Crikey. Late to the party here but I think this is a "perils of science journalism" story. I have helped to teach the MIT class referenced in the story and have stood in the room when this idea gets presented, and it's never anything beyond "hey look at the cool idea these other people had, you guys should find inspiration here."
posted by range at 4:26 PM on August 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


One the one hand, sodium hypochlorite is unstable in sunlight. What you really want is something like sodium hydroxide. On the other hand, household bleach contains a lot of sodium hydroxide. So I guess you're ok.

I wonder if they could make a brighter lightbulb by adding a bit of laundry detergent? The fluorescent fabric brighteners might work to their advantage.
posted by ryanrs at 5:26 PM on August 3, 2011


Wait, so you mean we could create jobs, especially for people in those 3rd world countries without or with sub-par recycling plans, involving people doing what they already do to survive?

So, you mean all those little starving kids playing in the dump, and the people with the grocery carts....they can gather plastic bottles and bring them to some sort of collection.......

Where more people who desperately needed a job take them and perhaps right there, or perhaps they're the middle men to ship them somewhere else, make out to clean them and prep them en masse.........

So another group of people can make the lights and give them to.....

The equally hired-on-hard-times distributors?

Start with a couple graphic designers, maybe even a team, to promote the venture to those who have money to burn and want to invest / help (ex: churches, schools, capitalists).....

Marketing.......

And the countless other people needed to make a large business run.

Aw shit. This sounds like it could -be- something. Obviously there's some glossed over starry gazing in there, but this still sounds like way more jobs that could be dissmissed lightly.
posted by DisreputableDog at 6:31 PM on August 3, 2011


Cool! A light bulb that only works during the day! Now all I need is a tube of non-stick glue, a pair of open-toed wading boots and a few Zunes.

Yeah, this is really only helpful for the kind of people who have to be in the house much of the day doing shit like cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children.
posted by palliser at 8:58 PM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I came in here thinking 'finally - a Metafilter thread where people are going to be awed and happy and full of wonder at human ingenuity'... I should have known better.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:36 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not a science term. It's a basic vocabulary term. A light bulb turns electricity into light. A deck prism or light pipe allows sunlight into otherwise dark places. I'm sorry, but if you think confusing the concepts of light generation and light redirection in order to spare someone the three seconds of mental horsepower of learning a new term is useful, you're nuts. You're also being rude and deceptive.

Altruists:We're going to install lightbulbs that run forever and cost only a few cents into your house!
Beneficiary: Well, hey, that sounds all right!
Altruist: Here's your used soda bottle glued into your roof! It only works during the day! Aren't we amazing?
Beneficiary: That's not a lightbulb. Where's our lightbulb? Is this a joke? Are you making fun of us?

Altruists: We're going to install a light pipe into your roof.
Beneficiary: What the hell's a light pipe?
Altruist: A doo-dad that lets sunlight inside, so you can see what you're doing without electricity. We made it out of a plastic bottle so it's cheap and unbreakable.
Beneficiary: Nifty! Thanks!
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:35 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, the initiative's site itself calls this a "solar bottle bulb". No mention of a light bulb anywhere.

I wonder what they're calling it in Tagalog, other than "Isang Litrong Liwanag (A Liter of Light)".
posted by armage at 12:35 AM on August 5, 2011


It's not a science term. It's a basic vocabulary term. A light bulb turns electricity into light. A deck prism or light pipe allows sunlight into otherwise dark places. I'm sorry, but if you think confusing the concepts of light generation and light redirection in order to spare someone the three seconds of mental horsepower of learning a new term is useful, you're nuts. You're also being rude and deceptive.


Bullshit. Serious bullshit. Deck prism is a science term. It is not a term that most people have in their basic vocabulary. If you think that calling these things by a scientifically accurate yet not commonplace-enough-to-be-understood-without-an-explanation word is going to make it easier to get the word out about how they're illuminating shanty towns, YOU are nuts.

Altruists:We're going to install lightbulbs that run forever and cost only a few cents into your house!
Beneficiary: Well, hey, that sounds all right!
Altruist: Here's your used soda bottle glued into your roof! It only works during the day! Aren't we amazing?
Beneficiary: That's not a lightbulb. Where's our lightbulb? Is this a joke? Are you making fun of us?

Altruists: We're going to install a light pipe into your roof.
Beneficiary: What the hell's a light pipe?
Altruist: A doo-dad that lets sunlight inside, so you can see what you're doing without electricity. We made it out of a plastic bottle so it's cheap and unbreakable.
Beneficiary: Nifty! Thanks!


Altruists: Hey, do you want something that will illuminate your dark shanty during the day?
Beneficiary: That depends. Are you going to call it by the correct name? I would rather be in near darkness than accept something that people are calling by the wrong name.
Altruists: We're calling them light bulbs.
Beneficiary: *siiiigggghh* Sorry. I'm going to have to pass.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:37 AM on August 5, 2011


Bullshit. Serious bullshit. Deck prism is a science term.

An uncommon term is not a science term. It's a noun that describes an object. Light Pipe is probably a better term still, as deck-prisms generally are pretty specific in their design, and can be described as light pipes.

"Solar Bulb" implies something that generates light using electricity made from solar energy. I'm sorry, it just does. It's sleazy marketeering so the inventors can overinflate their innovation in press releases. It's confusing and deceptive as to what it does - and a bottle stuck in the roof will not endear you to those you promised a solar-powered lightbulb to.

It's not a "solar bulb" any more than my window is a "solar viewscreen." It's a fucking light pipe. Underdeveloped doesn't mean "too stupid to learn a new word." How patronizing.
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:05 PM on August 5, 2011


I'm going to give you a car. Really, a car. All yours to have and to hold. Be careful when you take it out in the row boat and make sure to fold it up at night.
posted by edgeways at 2:17 PM on August 5, 2011


"Solar Bulb" implies something that generates light using electricity made from solar energy. I'm sorry, it just does.

You're dead wrong. And I'm not at all sorry. I'm completely unapologetic when I say that you're dead wrong. "Solar bottle bulb" is a made up term that means whatever the people who made it mean. Just because you make the mistake that a "solar bottle bulb" is a "solar powered light-bulb" doesn't mean that a solar bottle bulb should have to involve electricity.

I never said that underdeveloped meant "too stupid to learn a new word". I said that focusing on someone calling a bottle filled with bleach and water by the wrong name misses the point of this SO hard. Poor people are getting free light. That is so monumentally good that I cannot fathom why you care one bit that the people who are getting free light are told that they are getting "solar bottle bulbs" instead of "fucking light pipes".
posted by 23skidoo at 2:29 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


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