Fort Lauderdale, FL (PressExposure) October 08, 2009 -- The next major development was controlled fire, which was used as both a heat and light source, which really brightened the future. Our ancestors could get a look inside those cave dwellings before entering inside, cutting pesky saber-tooth tiger attacks dramatically. We even see the proclamation "Let there be light" in the Bible, perhaps giving birth to the world around us. Since the first stargazers looked skyward, our use of light has come a long way, see below for five of our more clever uses of light:
The Luxor Casino in Las Vegas serves as a beacon to all who enter the city. With architecture based on the Pyramids of Giza, the Luxor's centerpiece is a 42 billion candlepower fixed-position spotlight that reaches into the sky. Supposedly the brightest beam in the world, it is visible from anywhere in the Las Vegas valley at night. To put it in perspective, this is more light than is produced by over 315,000 high output CFL light bulbs.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria, built between 285 and 247 BCE, was the landmark, and then lighthouse, of the island of Pharos in Egypt. A converted day beacon, the lighthouse used a system of fire and reflective mirrors at the top to warn sailors of approaching land. While the fire has since been extinguished, the same fundamental principles are in widespread use throughout the world today.
Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is nature's own spectacular light show. Best viewed in Alaska or Northern Canada, the lights are formed by an interaction between the Earth's magnetic field and solar wind. The lights, which display a wide spectrum of colors similar to energy efficient LEDs, must be seen in person to truly understand their magnificence.
Machu Picchu is a pre-Colombian Incan site in Peru. Amongst the ruins is the Intihuanta stone, which points directly at the sun during the winter solstice. At exactly midday twice a year the stone gives off no shadow at all. A clever use of the sun's light, the stone was used as an early astronomic clock or calendar.
And now for the most modern of our wonders: energy efficient CFLs and LEDs. These bulbs are growing in use as replacements to traditional incandescent lamps. Energy efficient light bulbs are truly remarkable in that they use up to 80% less energy than the bulbs they replace. If every American home replaced just one bulb with an Energy Star qualified lamp enough light would be saved to light more than 3 million homes for a year. This would save $600 million in annual energy costs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of more than 800,000 cars. While not the most interesting of the items on our list, these bulbs will have the greatest impact on the world as a whole. Their ecological and financial savings equal a product with a tremendous growth pattern, and one that should be adopted by consumers and business alike.