LED There Be Light!

Keith Howard | Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Lots of good things continue to happen with the Liberty Home:

  • The Union-Leader published a positive story last Saturday,  printing it above the fold on page one. I’m old enough to remember when this paper was THE dominant media outlet in the state, so it was quite a kick to think of being thrown onto porches across the city.
  • Good conversation with the City of Manchester’s building department, who said they have no issues with what we’re doing. They did suggest contacting the state fire marshal’s office to get their insight, but wished us well.
  • An anonymous donor in Virginia saw the story on-line and has donated a thousand dollars of “encouragement money”!
  • The executive director of a think-tank/philanthropic organization in Washington, DC, reached out to offer her support and to ask for help in identifying a homeless veteran for a documentary she’s making about affordable housing. More on this later, I suspect.
  • Sandy Whipple of the Goffstown Public Library, site of the Human Library project a couple weeks ago, has asked us to present on our progress in July.

I don’t know a lot about human prehistory. Of course, I’d question anyone who says she knows a LOT about prehistory, since what we think we know is based on a gossamer-thin web of hunches, guesses and unsubstantiated conclusions. But I digress.

What I think I know about early humans is we discovered how to harness fire—or were given it as a trickster gift by Prometheus—and figured out that fire could cook food, making it palatable and longer lasting, and, in smaller quantities, could illuminate a dark cave, hut, shanty or castle. The story of indoor illumination remained static for, let us say, 70,000 years, with fuels and wicking materials falling in and out of fashion until the invention of the carbon arc lamp in the early 1800s followed by Edison’s revolutionary electric light later in the century.

Here at Liberty House, we have telescoped 70 millennia into two weeks. When Lucy and I started sleeping in the box a fortnight ago, we were in the dark all night long. Sleeping comes easily to me, but Lucy can be a bit restless, apparently beset by night terrors driving her to stretch her legs and bark at the air. The darkness only made things worse.

I mentioned last week Dan D’s suggestion we purchase a twenty-dollar lantern, and magically the nights were shorter and more pleasant.

Yesterday, though, we leapt forward from flames to incandescent (or at least LED) light. Dan D., who knows how things work, unlike I, who knows how to break things, pulled all the wires for the box, and, mirabile dictum, hooked up lights that work! Lucy and I can now reach up and slap a switch and banish darkness. Hurray, Hurrah and Hurroo!

-Keith Howard

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