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#166 :: Head Lamp

July 25, 2004

The invention of the white LED has sparked a renaissance in personal illumination. The carbon-battery-powered torch in 1899 began pushing back the darkness around us at night that was only somewhat held at bay by oil and kerosene lamps. Beef that up into brick-sized 9-volt-powered floods, tweak it into the shape of a cop’s metal nightstick – there’s not much more room for improvement. Batteries die. The light fades in 10 hours or so, and you’re left with a heavy implement full of dead weight. But this – this is a miner’s lamp for the digital era, a tiny sun with a hundred hours of life strapped to my forehead. I strap this thing on whenever I have to excavate beneath my desk for some lost plug, jack or thingummy. It came into the house a while back as a gift for my son, but I’m using it until he can be trusted not to leave it on and completely drain its $8 battery every time he uses it.

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