Well, at long last I put my fluorescent lighting theory to test, and alas, turns out it was not invented as a form of state control. Which doesn’t mean its not used for such. Still, the history of florescent lighting is quite innocuous, dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. For clarity’s sake, a fluorescent light is a type of electric lamp that “excites” mercury vapor to create luminescence. Anyway, 40-some years later, the American inventor Peter Cooper Hewitt patented the first low pressure mercury vapor lamp, which, because of the intensity of its brightness and its harsh ultraviolet bluish-gray tone, was developed mostly for use in photography studios and industrial settings. Certainly not the home. There are several more key figures in its technical evolution, but its not that interesting a story.
What is useful to know is that while everyone knows fluorescent lighting is a bang for your buck given its longevity, it does not give out a steady light, but rather flickers or fluctuates in intensity at a rate dependent on the frequency of the driving voltage. This strobe-like effect, which I experience, is apparently indiscernible to most eyes, and can pose a safety hazard incertain work conditions. Like the dizziness I sometimes get when teaching under their relentless glare! Moreover, there’s a lot of anecdotal references to its use in torture and prisoner scenarios that prove my general suspicions. From mikemate.wordpress.com: “In my cell there was no natural light, just the fluorescent tube that could not be turned off – it was torture. Light torture. A timeless violation of human rights.” I don’t know about timeless, but a nightmare all the same. Studies have also shown other adverse or long term effects on the body, including skin cancer, dental cavities and lung tissue damage (yick. I hate thinking about the condition of my lungs). My favorite information on this subject came from none other than wikipedia who like ebay it seems has whatever you’re looking for info-wise (no matter how arbitrary) in an entry they call “over-illumination” defined as “the presence of lighting intensity (illuminance) beyond that required for a specific activity.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ That about sums it up for moi.
For more info. on negative effects of fluorescent lighting go to: http://www.daylighting.com/hazards.asp where you can find a laundry list of symptoms I myself endure such as eye strain and irritation, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. So no matter how un-PC it may be, I won’t be using those energy-saving lightbulbs until they invent something that does away with these effects. Sorry, sanity first!