By Patricia Daukantas
Several interesting news stories recently crossed my computer screen. One involves a useful optical illusion and another an LED landmark.
First comes an Associated Press story via CNN.com about a test of fake speed bumps that look real to oncoming motorists. The pseudo-bumps are really flat plastic with embedded glass beads to make them reflective at night, but they are colored to look like three-dimensional pyramids sitting in the middle of the road. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is testing these and other “calming” devices to see if they really do slow down speeding cars. You can read about the “Heed the Speed” program on NHTSA's Web site (the details are in this section).
Second, a public television station in Boston, Mass., is having trouble with its giant outdoor LED screen. Last September, WGBH-TV installed a 30- by 50-foot (9.1- by 15.2-m) LED video screen on the outside of its headquarters, where it would be visible to passersby on a major highway. However, the Boston Globe reported that some of the LEDs go dark when the screen gets too warm. Repairs may take a couple of months.
Finally, several news services have reported that dozens of partygoers suffered partial vision loss from a laser light show gone awry near Moscow, Russia.
2008-07 July, Miscellaneous Optics