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"I think we're still on that topic, still trying to figure out what computers are, how they change us, why we use them."
- Neal Stephenson
||Indirect Cold Light
||Apparently source-less lighting, highly efficient, with no waste heat.
|I recall from history that at your time,
during the Steel Age you thought yourselves quite
accomplished when you succeeded in heating a wire
in vacuum or some inert gas, and thus securing a
light having an efficiency of three or five per cent.
We use cold light with an efficiency of ninety to ninety-
five per cent. We are using but one lamp at present
in this room and it consumes a little less than three
watts yet it is as effective as ninety or a hundred watt
lamp of the old style.
"There is nothing mysterious about it, however,
much as it differs from the old method. We use a
tiny short-wave radio transmitter sealed in a tube of
fused quartz. Here," he opened a compartment in the
wail and took out a spare tube. "You will notice that
point inside the tubeó it is tipped with a radio-active
material which emits a stream of electrons. The grid
and plate are connected electrostatically for the feedback. The rate of oscillation is varied until it is of
the frequency of white light and the movable adjustment is welded in place with a ray welder focussed
through the quartz tube. We have other lamps on
board that are adjusted to emit colored light ; and the
searchlights we are using at the moment are infra-red.
These rays are invisible but penetrate the mists well,
and the reflected beams are picked up on the television plates around the shell of the vessel, being interpreted as white light on the screens before the control
table. We are thus able to see where we are going and
to view the ground, while to anyone without apparatus
we are invisible. We have an adjustable light in
another room if you care to examine it"
With the help of the captain, Addison managed to
navigate into another room where the officer touched
a button on the door casing and the room was flooded
with white light. With a dial on the switch plate,
connected through the walls with the mounting of the
lamp, the officer rotated the bulb, changing the light
through the entire spectrum of colors as he varied
the wave length. The colors were brilliant, not at all
like the results from the old method of shining a white
light through a prism, for there was something vital
about the colors emitted. And Addison marveled.
|From The Silent Destroyer,
by Henri Dahl Juve.
Published by Air Wonder Stories in 1929
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