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The Blue light malady from tech gadgets

The light from mobile phones and other tech gadgets can interfere with sleep.

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A mobile user. Wikimedia Commons
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Many people like to use their phones, tablets or other gadgets at night before they go to sleep.

However, the light from mobile devices can interfere with sleep. But not all light carries the same risk.

Recent studies have shown that within the light spectrum, blue light can have the worst effect on sleep.

A study in the UK showed that blue light actually can keep sleepy people awake. Tired drivers who were exposed to blue light became as alert as those who drank two cups of coffee.

Blue light filters have been developed for mobile devices to help with sleep issues. Apps are available for Android devices that filter blue light on screens. Updates to the iPhone, iPad and Amazon Fire tablet have added blue light filters.

Twilight App – Android Devices

Twilight is a free app that filters blue light on Android device screens. It can be set to turn on by itself. Or users can turn it on and off when they want.In the app settings, you can change the intensity of the filter, the color and the time the filter turns on and off.

Twilight works across all apps, though some apps may not work fully when Twilight’s filter is on.

There is a YouTube video that explains Twilight use.

Watch this:

Twilight is available free for Android devices in the Google Play store.

Night Shift – iPhone and iPad

Apple updated its operating system for iPhone and iPad earlier this year. Included in the update is Night Shift, a blue light filter.

This feature is available on newer iPhones and iPads, including the iPhone 5s and later, and the iPad Air and later.

Night Shift can be set to turn itself on every night or for the user to turn it on and off as wanted.

To turn on Night Shift automatically every night, go to Settings, then Display, then Brightness and then Night Shift.On the Night Shift settings, move the switch to schedule Night Shift. It can be set for Night Shift to go on and off atspecific times, or at sunset and sunrise.

In Settings you can also adjust the color of the filter.

Night Shift can also be turned on and off in Control Center on the iPhone and iPad. Open Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

The sun and moon icon there identifies Night Shift. Tap it to turn Night Shift on or off at any time.

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Blue Shade – Amazon Fire Tablets

In an update to Fire tablets at the end of last year, Amazon introduced Blue Shade to filter blue light on screens. Blue Shade is available on more recent Fire tablets.

To turn on Blue Shade on a Fire tablet, swipe down from the top of the screen and tap Blue Shade. To adjust the color, go to Settings, then Display and, finally, Blue Shade. (VOA)

References: http://learningenglish.voanews.com/content/blue-light-filters/3325898.html

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Bakelite: The Revolutionary Invention of Leo Baekeland

Today marks the 108th anniversary of the day when bakelite was first patented.

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leo baekeland
Leo Hendrik Baekeland (1863- 1944)

Bakelite! Ah, the pioneering invention that defined the modern plastic industry. The plastic which had once been the primary substance of manufactured everyday items which now line up the boastful shelves of antiquity collectors: chokers, lockets, fine jewelleries and watches, furniture and radios…

This is in remembrance of the pioneer of modern plastic- bakelite- and of the man behind this revolutionary invention.

In what would probably have been his late forties, Leo Hendrik Baekeland had a goal in his mind: to find a replacement for shellac. Made from the shells of Asian female lac beatles, shellac had its uses as a colourant, food glaze and wood finish. Chemists had already identified natural resins like shellac as polymers and had started experiments to form synthetic polymers. Encouraged by these advances, Baekeland began his own experiments by first combining phenol and formaldehyde to create a soluble shellac. He called it “Novolak”. Unfortunately, this first phenol- formaldehyde combination fluttered away without a trace, never finding popularity. However, it did leave Baekeland with valuable experience.

It was the second attempt that set the boulder rolling! This time Baekeland chose precision. Initiating a controlled reaction between phenol and formaldehyde, the Belgian chemist found himself witnessing the birth of the plastic he had so long waited for.

About a hundred- and eight years ago on this very day, Leo Hendrik Baekeland patented the first thermosetting plastic- bakelite!

invention of bakelite
The Bakelizer was a steam pressure vessel used to produce commercial quantities of Bakelite since 1909. Photo from Chemical Heritage Foundation in wikimedia commons.

The Belgian’s invention was an instant success. Bakelite took the plastic industries of the world by storm, finding its use in more than a thousand of items and accessories. From jewellery and fashion equipments including the choker, bakelite earrings and lockets to kitchenware like bakelite handles, knobs and utensils, the revolutionary new plastic went on to find crucial uses in the radio and automobile industries, which during that age were undergoing rapid growth.

Picture of a bakelite radio at the Bakelite Museum, Somerset, UK. Photo from wikimedia commons

However, the fame that bakelite had earned was not destined to last long. With the synthesis of new plastic formulas after the end of the Second World War, the demand for bakelite began to diminish. New plastics like ABS and Lexan began surfacing across the industrial world to overthrow the reign of Leo Baekeland’s groundbreaking invention.

A little over a hundred years on though, bakelite still shines on! Besides being a collector’s item in the modern world, it still exists in brotherhood with the likes of aluminium and steel to fill catalogues and portals that sell quality kitchenware to the masses. Clearly, it never left. It was an invention which had been wrought out by Baekeland; a pioneer which was here to stay.

 

– Twitter Handle: @QuillnQuire