PBS's NATURE Comic #2 wins award


Back in November, I posted a one-pager I did on compact flourescent lightbulbs for PBS’s Nature Comics #2. The comics also featured work by R. Kikuo Johnson, Lauren Weinstein, and Rick Veitch, among others. Well, the Association of Education Publishers just named Nature Comics #2 a 2008 Distinguished Achievement Awards Winner (in the Specialized Audience Instruction/Graphic Novel category). Congrats and self-congrats are in order!

Nature Comics is targeted at pre-teens and teenagers. It includes stories related to Nature shows "Silence of the Bees," "In the Valley of the Wolves," and "The Beauty of Ugly." The comic is available FREE OF CHARGE — to order, please e-mail guiderequest@thirteen.org. You can also download a 1.4 MB PDF of the entire comic book here.

[cross-posted on ACT-I-VATE]

Let there be light!


For those who read and responded to “Dim Bulbs at ConEd,” I have an update:

Last Tuesday, I did indeed have all the incandescent bulbs in our apartment converted to new CFL (compact fluorescent lightbulbs). It’s part of a program sponsored by ConEd, called the Brooklyn Free Lighting Project, to encourage energy efficiency (and obviously to help ConEd avoid more blackouts like last summer’s).

When they called to offer me the program, I was a bit dubious, but thanks to those who weighed in, I learned a lot. Seems that the CFL bulbs should last 4-5 YEARS each, and even though they are currently more expensive to purchase, as they become more common, they will go down in price. And even though it is flourescent light, it is a huge improvement over the ugly long-tube flourescents we all know from typical offices. More importantly, having CFLs in the apartment will significantly lower my ConEd bill over time. (A CFL providing light equivalent to a 75-watt bulb only uses the equivalent of 20 watts worth of energy!)

So last Tuesday, as scheduled, a nice fellow named Greg showed up at my apartment. He gave me a form to sign (in which they agree to replace all our bulbs with CFLs and guarantee them for a year), and diligently went through the apartment, cataloguing each bulb, its wattage, and the equivalent CFL he would use to replace it. Then he went around on a small ladder, replacing each bulb.

I’m very pleased with the results. The color and warmth of the new bulbs seem indistinguishable from traditional incandescents. My only (slight) quibble is that sometimes it seems to take a couple of seconds for the bulbs to generate to full capactity, and they may be a teeny bit dimmer than the bulbs they replaced. (One way to alleviate that concern would be to ask the rep to replace your current lights with slightly more powerful CFLs than what the typical exchange would be.) Overall, I like the idea of using more cheaper, more energy efficient lighting, and I love that the whole exchange was completely free!

In short, I encourage all of you to schedule an appointment. If you live in Brooklyn (or probably anywhere in NYC), Just call 866.364.8269. And if you mention Greg (the guy who did my apt.), he’ll get a little commission.

Dim Bulbs at ConEd


I get this call from a ConEd rep, saying that the power company is going around to people’s homes, replacing their old lightbulbs with new energy-efficient bulbs, for free. This is all well and good, but I am a little concerned that they replace my bulbs with ones of equal wattage. For instance, the twin bulbs in my kitchen are 40 watts, while the bulb in my drawing table lamp is very bright, 100 watts. But the rep doesn’t understand my question; she just repeats that they’re replacing all the bulbs, and they’re energy-efficient, and free. So I try to explain my concerns again: “I need to make sure you’re replacing all the bulbs with ones of equal wattage.” “No sir, all the bulbs are energy-efficient, free, no cost to you.” She’s a frickin’ broken record.

Finally, it dawns on me: the woman from the power company doesn’t understand the concept of bulb wattage.

And then it dawns on me again: this is the same power company that plunged a big chunk of Queens into darkness for nine days last summer.

Anyway, after a short pause while she consults her supervisor, the rep comes back on the line, chagrined, and confirms that they’ll replace all the bulbs with ones of equal power. They’re supposed to show up this afternoon.

Should I be worried?