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Electromagnetic Emission Art 198

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wonder-what-its-doing-to-your-nervous-system dept.
mr_lithic writes "The artist Richard Box has used the electromagnetic field generated by overhead transmission cables to power 1300 fluorescent lightbulbs positioned underneath. Some pictures available. Professor Denis Harshaw at Bristol University explains "There's an interactive element to all this, too, for those who go to the site itself. 'You affect the lights by your proximity', explains Richard Box, 'because you're a much better conductor than a glass tube. And there's sound as well as light - a crackling that corresponds to the flashing of the lights. There's a certain smell too, and your hair stands slightly on end.'" Sounds cool and it is on until February 29th. Directons here."
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Electromagnetic Emission Art

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 22, 2004 @10:42AM (#8355563)
    yet you will gladly drive along side them every day.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 22, 2004 @11:12AM (#8355700)
    pot doesn't kill brain cells...cops beating you over the head because you have some does.
  • Re:Wrong physics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SloWave (52801) on Sunday February 22, 2004 @11:28AM (#8355804) Journal
    I suspect the lights are lighted by the electric field instead of the magnetic field required for mutual inductance.
  • by gordguide (307383) on Sunday February 22, 2004 @11:28AM (#8355813)
    He is using a source of energy, and translating it into work.

    The source of energy is clearly owned by an identifiable person or group. Therefore the use of that energy is actionable. The right-of-way that allows the powerline in the first place gives the power company further arguments to strengthen their position.

    The amount of energy used is measurable. Therefore he could be billed for it. Need I go on?

    A smart Power Company would probably like it all to just go away, because it raises the possibility of health issues, so making a big deal out of it probably isn't a good idea.

    Then again, a smart law firm that senses an opportunity to bill a few hours might convince a gullible board to pursue it. There are plenty of reasonable arguments that could be offered to encourage them to re-affirm rights over the use of borrowed power in this fashion (even though those rights are well established already). Companies don't always do what is in their best interest.

    If it becomes popular or more common (negating the value of shutting up about it) expect to see the lawyers get a call.

    As a final note: consider that the actual means to use the power is irrelevant; just because it doesn't directly connect to the grid means nothing, now that it's proven it's not necessarily a prerequisite to using the energy in the first place. it's just a technical detail.
  • Re:Stealing energy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by benjamindees (441808) on Sunday February 22, 2004 @11:30AM (#8355818) Homepage
    I think that the courts would probably err on the side of you (and this guy) being able to have your coils wherever you want to have them as long as it's legal. Farting in the wind probably causes increased resistance for trucks driving down the road but no one would call it stealing.
  • Re:Stealing energy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot@[ ]kelectric.com ['mon' in gap]> on Sunday February 22, 2004 @11:32AM (#8355831)
    Actually, I don't disgree with the physics of the situation, just the philisophical implications :)

    If having an inductor under a power line is theft -- what isn't?

  • by cperciva (102828) on Sunday February 22, 2004 @11:34AM (#8355850) Homepage
    Let me guess: People deserve to have their cars stolen because they are too cheap to install expensive anti-theft devices?

    Or is it only large corporations which deserve to be stolen from?
  • by sploxx (622853) on Sunday February 22, 2004 @11:37AM (#8355863)
    The problem is that you not measure the speed of light but the wavelength of microwaves. To get to the speed of light, you'll have to know the frequency of the microwaves.
  • Re:Wrong physics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doug Neal (195160) on Sunday February 22, 2004 @11:40AM (#8355884)
    They are both interdependant, you can't have one without the other. Mutual inductance will most definitely be happening in this case. It's all about conservation of energy as well - if all the energy that's going into lighting up those bulbs was just being radiated out and wasted anyway, don't you think there'd be a hell of a lot of energy going to waste? There is some loss on power transmission lines but it's not as much as that!
  • Re:Stealing energy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BroncoInCalifornia (605476) on Sunday February 22, 2004 @01:07PM (#8356341)
    I can see this scenario:
    Farmer who lives close to power line makes some big coils to nab some of the energy in the air around his house.

    Power company: You are stealing our power. Stop.

    Farmer: What are your E fields and H fields doing on my property. Get them off or let me use them as I see fit.

    ...

    This could turn into quite a pissing contest!

  • Re:Stealing energy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday February 22, 2004 @08:34PM (#8358750) Homepage Journal
    If it's being sent through the air, then anybody should be able to use it, regardless of frquency.

    Sorry, but really, you run an item near someones home, and it gives of energy, the people in the home should be able to use it. If you don't like it, find another way to deliever your energy.

    If you are not connected to the power, then you are not stealing. tresspassing, maybe.

  • Re:Science and Art (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ratsnapple tea (686697) on Sunday February 22, 2004 @09:31PM (#8359075)
    Funny, yes, but sheesh. Could you possibly be any more condescending?

    If you're trying to change someone's opinion here, you might get better results if you watch the snide attitude. Just a thought.
  • by ratsnapple tea (686697) on Sunday February 22, 2004 @09:44PM (#8359154)
    It's not just on farms, either. Did you hear about this [columbiaspectator.com] ("Teachers College Student Dies in Freak Accident," Columbia Daily Spectator)?

    Apparently almost 300 objects carrying stray current--metal grates, service boxes, even lamp poles--have been identified around the city since this article was written. IIRC, there was even 120 volts found to be running through a lamppost one block from Times Square. This according to the NYT.

    Just another thing to consider as you walk to work tomorrow...

    yours
  • by ratsnapple tea (686697) on Sunday February 22, 2004 @09:47PM (#8359173)
    And if parents don't want you murdering their children and eating them for Halloween dinner, I suppose they need to stop sending their little ghosts and princesses up to your front door? Sorry, I don't buy it.

There must be more to life than having everything. -- Maurice Sendak

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