Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Charlotte's Web

I'd like to take this brief opportunity to salute the fabulous Charlotte Gore, who has topped the Total Politics poll as No 1 LibDem blogger - a fantastic result attributable in large part, I imagine, to non LibDems like the Heresiarch voting for her in droves. The only downside of this is that it deprives me of the one excuse I had for Heresy Corner's own depressing performance in the "Right of Centre" category the other day, that the preponderance of votes were cast by people with no taste.

Charlotte is a blogging genius who often makes me wonder why I bother. For example, read here in full flight here, eviscerating the BBC's lightbulb propaganda and the EU's pointless ban on proper lighting which manages to combine tokenism, illiberalism and protectionism while doing very little actually to help the environment. Even better, she explains what is wrong with the new "energy efficient" bulbs. I've been stockpiling incandescent lightbulbs for months now, but until I read this I didn't know why. Here's the answer:


Normal bulbs emit the full spectrum of visible light, whilst Compact Florescents don’t. You get the full spectrum from the Sun, and you get partial spectrums from things like televisions - that eerie glow when a television is left on whilst the lights are turned out.

I used to do a lot of 3D Computer Graphics, and one of the hardest things to simulate is human skin. That’s because skin isn’t just ’skin’ - it’s multiple layers of different types of tissues, and light is diffused and scattered around underneath the surface, each layer handling photons in its own way. Put your hand over a powerful light source and your skin seems to glow bright orange. In computer graphics it is fantastically difficult to get right, and is the main reason why it’s almost impossible to create a truly photo-realistic human in a computer.

What I learnt from this is that how we look is very much dictated by the light that illuminates us. The partial spectrum light from Compact Fluorescents makes skin look very different. I can’t explain it. It just feels eerie. Whenever I’m in space lit only by Florescent lighting I feel like I’m in a dystopian horror, as if we’ve crossed some invisible line in creating artificial environments for ourselves.


Charlotte could, I think, convert me to the Lib Dems. But first she'd have to convert the rest of her party to her eminently sensible - indeed unarguable - worldview. Good luck to her.