February 7, 2014

5 a.m.


The view from my desk, right now.

UPDATE, 7:14: The sun is up and the scene — with the sunrise hitting the steam from the heat plant (no, the photo above does not show the neighborhood on fire) — looks like this:



The Elder said...

A fire in the neighborhood?

Xmas said...

That looks like a house on fire...is that a house on fire?

Ann Althouse said...

It's just the steam that pours out of the University heat plant and the way it catches whatever light is around. The orangeness is just that streetlight orangeness.

Ann Althouse said...

Glad to see somebody else is up!

Skeptical Voter said...

Well it's three in the morning in California. And the pooch wanted out. Old dogs will do that. So duty called.

virgil xenophon said...

Am I the only one, or does anyone else hate that hellish yellow-orange glare from the sodium streetlamps? Most people do, I think. Notice that Wallmart, which doesn't miss a trick, pointedly uses only the trad. white light lamps in its parking lots nationwide.

I remember when coming back to the US in fall of '71 from being stationed in the UK for three years and looking at all the white street-lamps then still predominately in use and thinking: "Boy, the good 'ole USA, at least I won't have to endure those nasty sodium lights any more."

Little did I know..

Shouting Thomas said...

One of my better pictures...

Sunrise in the Catskills.

No ambient light out here in the mountains.

Lyle said...

Beautiful morning photos. Looks like a fire too. Neat, cause the sun is fire.

Ann Althouse said...

The sun is up now. I took a new picture.

Will post in an update.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Glad to see somebody else is up!"

Where Were You an Hour Before? Was a Jump-Rope Involved?

eeeeeeeeeeeee Thump Thump Thump.

David said...

Skeptical Voter said...
Well it's three in the morning in California. And the pooch wanted out. Old dogs will do that. So duty called.


Good dog.

Skeptical Voter said...

Sodium vapor and yellowish cast---the wonders of modern technology.

35 years ago I was corporate counsel for what was then the biggest photovoltaic manufacturer in the United States. Our plant and research labs were in Southern California.

The Saudis were awash in oil money, and they wanted to build "the world's greatest airport"--forget whether it was at Riyadh or at Jidda. In any event it was going to be used to receive all the faithful Muslims who made the haj to Mecca each year.

And if you are going to have a great airport, well you need a few "green" features don't you? So they decided that they would have a car parking lot powered by solar electricity. And since it's hot in Saudi Arabia the parking lot would have shade structures over each parking space---keep the sun off the Mercede's and BMWs doncha know.

And of course the tops of the shade structures were the perfect place to put the solar panels. You generate electricity during the day--feed it into storage batteries, and then when it gets dark, you turn on the lights under the shade structures snd everything is copacetic.

Well not so fast there. There's a lot of area to light up, and while you generated a lot of electricity during the day, you have to be careful about how you spend it. The nights are long--and there's only so much "juice" in those batteries.

So the engineering solution in this system was to use sodium vapor lamps. They were the most energy efficient solution around at the time. The system was duly built and installed.

While Saudi Arabia not Scotland, things gang aft agley--and so it was in Riyadh (I think they named the airport the King Faisal Airport or something like that).

Did the panels generate electricity? Yes they did, and in the expected amounts. Did the batteries efficiently store that electricity? Check--they did. Did the sodium vapor lights light up the parking lot for at least several hours each night? Check--they didn't go all night long, but they were on long enough before having to switch to conventional electricity that you could legitimately claim that this was the world's "First solar powered parking lot."

So what could go wrong? And what did go wrong?

That sickly yellow light made very car in the parking lot--didn't matter whether the car was painted red, yellow, white, blue, black, green,--I repeat every car in the parking lot looked like it was painted silver.

You could find your car under the shades during the day--but once the lights came on, it was damned hard for the auto owner to find his car.