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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Sunset 2011

Some may look back and be unimpressed with 2011.  I on the other hand am impressed with some things this year.  Firstly, Sue started working for SACHEM CENTRAL SCHOOL district at time when it seemed next to impossible to find full time employment.  Gavin started his college career at Hartwick where he feels very much at home, and on top of it all, is running cross-country, formed a club, and pulled a 3.8+ index.   Kyle made the varsity soccer team, and helped the Sachem East Varsity Soccer win the league one title, scoring the winning goal against rival Brentwood.  Luke overcame a couple of injuries (hand and heel), and is back to playing soccer for Sachem Golden Knights.  And I started working on my health and fitness, lost 20 lbs., and ran my first 5K.

So, even in the midst of high unemployment, high cost of living, inflation, dismal consumer confidence, foreclosures, unprecedented national debt, and a recession, the Jenkins Family is thankful that we are doing well, and hopefully will continue to do so in 2012 and beyond.   I can only wish all of my friends and family the same, and those less fortunate, the hope that 2012 will be even brighter.

This day in history “Edison demonstrates incandescent light”
In the first public demonstration of his incandescent lightbulb, American inventor Thomas Alva Edison lights up a street in Menlo Park, New Jersey. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company ran special trains to Menlo Park on the day of the demonstration in response to public enthusiasm over the event.
Although the first incandescent lamp had been produced 40 years earlier, no inventor had been able to come up with a practical design until Edison embraced the challenge in the late 1870s. After countless tests, he developed a high-resistance carbon-thread filament that burned steadily for hours and an electric generator sophisticated enough to power a large lighting system.

Times Square is now illuminated by large LED screens.  Gone are the incandescent and neon of yesteryear.  Anyone who has been there at night knows that it is almost as bright at night as it is during the day.

Millions watch the Times Square Ball drop every New Year's Eve. Not many realize just how much that ball has changed since the party started in 1907.

A century ago, the ball was a 5-foot diameter, 700-pound sphere covered in 100 light bulbs and made of wood and iron. At the time, the big ball represented relatively new technology in lighting. But in the 1920s it with one made of iron, and in 1955 it was changed to aluminum. The traditional lights weren’t radically altered until 1995, when a computer was added to control the strobe lights. The only years the ball wasn't lit were 1942 and 1943, when the lights in New York were “dimmed out” during World War II.
The new one is twice the size –- 12 feet across –- and weighs 11,875 pounds. The roof of the building that houses it has had to be reinforced a few times over the years. Instead of the original 25-watt bulbs used overall, the ball now has light emitting diodes. There are a total of 32,256 LEDs in red, blue, green and white. That allows for all kinds of colors and patterns, and is a lot more energy efficient than the 1907 version. Philips Lighting, the company that makes the LEDs, says the bulbs use 140,000 kilowatt hours of energy, 80 percent less than the old ones, which at up 1.1 million kilowatt-hours.

So, like millions of others, we will pause the celebration, this year at home with Luke, as Kyle and Gavin are going to parties, to watch the ‘ball drop’. 

Photo of the day “Last Sunset 2011”

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