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The Dancer at the Lightbulb Factory. The Art of working in a Lightbulb Factory. July 31, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, Light bulbs in pop culture, Weird Bulb News.
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Zoinks! Here is a great article on a lightbulb factory in China. These people take their jobs to whole new level!
Dr. Z
Getting Down At the Light Bulb Factory

Getting Down At the Light Bulb Factory

Have you ever seen a lightbulb being made? It is a long, fast dance of glittering, breakable parts: legs of glass and filament arms shuttled around shakily, doll versions of Charlie Chaplin in the gears, finally tested and transformed into dazzling, glowing, blinking landscapes thrown back at their heavy-metal creators. The ballet mecanique of the lightbulb can’t help but be nostalgic for an American audience. Where have our factories gone? To China, of course—where Cao Fei’s video Whose Utopia is set in a real lightbulb factory. The first part of the 20-minute video portrays the creation of a lightbulb from start to finish, and this abstract and gorgeous scenario lasts until about halfway through, when hopelessly soft human parts appear: slender female fingers pricked while sorting through tiny heaps of sharp metal bits, shoulders slumped, eyesight going. The bulb bodies take their toll on the flesh ones—an old story—but that’s not the end of it. The flesh fights back. Cao directed real workers to express themselves inside the factory: a ballerina twirling slowly within a canyon of boxes stacked to the factory ceiling, a man soft-shoeing under a sky of fluorescents, a dancer wearing angel wings working alongside everyone else at the long assembly bench. Each moment is a little protest by a still-hopeful member of China’s rapidly developing economy in the Pearl River Delta region, where Cao was commissioned by Siemens to create this video at the Osram factory—a subsidiary of Siemens. Whose Utopia is an unusually direct yet poetic study of the interlock of art and economics in contemporary China, where Cao’s father is a sculptor for the state and Cao’s awareness of her censors, both governmental and corporate, is built into her process from the start. My Future Is Not a Dream is the name of a rock band formed by a handful of the young workers, individuals who have left their hometowns and come to this industrial zone with big dreams. Their lyrics accompany the final section of Whose Utopia, in which the factory moves while individual workers stand still for portraits in work clothes, as in August Sander’s early-20th-century photographs of German workers. “Part of your life had waned and waned,” their song goes in slightly broken English. “And to whom do you beautifully belong?” Cao enlisted the workers as coauthors instead of mere subjects to empower them: “The conditions that these workers live under is generally highly invisible to a broader public,” she told the Vancouver, B.C.–based magazine Fillip. “What this project does is release the workers from a standardized notion of productivity. What we are doing is production, but a type of production that connects back to the personal. I am like a social worker. They don’t regard me as an artist. They think I’m an event organizer.” Maybe so, but what makes the video so moving is its hopelessness to those of us on the other end of rapid industrialization. This is not going to work out, we think. And the art is, in some sense, playing along by offering the carrot of a fleeting transcendence. Resistance is futile—or fatal. This is the China in which so-called “cutting-edge” contemporary artists (such as Cai Guo-Qiang of the “exploding cars” at Seattle Art Museum) produce Olympics spectacles. This is China, post–Tiananmen Square. And without being too nationalistic, it is necessary to point out that we helped to create it. In February 1989, just months before the government executed a still-unknown number of student protesters at Tiananmen Square, a large exhibition called China/Avant-Garde opened at the National Gallery in Beijing. Authorities shut it down shortly after it opened (because of a performance including gunshots), then allowed it to reopen and shut it down again, twice. It ran for only two weeks, but it marked the culmination of a movement that had been taking place throughout the 1980s in China, informed as much by Mao’s Cultural Revolution as by Russian kitsch art and American Pop. Early Pop was really invented by two fountainheads: Robert Rauschenberg, whose ROCI (Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange, pronounced “Rocky” after his pet turtle) Project visited and influenced Beijing in 1985, and Jasper Johns, whose 20 years of depicting the lightbulb (1957–76) is the subject of a small exhibition on the floor below Cao’s video at the Henry Art Gallery. Jasper Johns: Light Bulb, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, is a nerdacious little universe of experimentation you could disappear into—but its coincidental appearance here with Cao’s study of a lightbulb factory pulls it into a broader context of economic and social history. Cao, born in 1978, is a generation beyond what Art in America termed the “Children of Mao and Coca-Cola,” and maybe not even aware of Johns’s lightbulb works, but the connections are natural. Both Cao and Johns undercut the cliché that art is something that appears magically, like a lightbulb above the head. Cao depicts light as nothing more than a commercial product (and key to a surveillance system); Johns’s lightbulbs are simply devoid of light. Made in bronze, plaster, or lead, Johns’s lightbulbs are heavy, dark, and solid: the anti-lightbulbs. In lithographs, they cast shadows rather than light. They wear the stamps of their manufacturers rather than the artist’s signature, in the classic Pop move of replacing the artist with the machine. Just as light is the product of certain systems, so are artistic ideas. The artist is a manufacturer, too; now: of what? And Johns is also a case of the co-opted critique. The most laconic of the Pop artists, his work is nevertheless today affordable only to the extremely rich. His idea-objects have been elevated to the status of the magical and the rare, an ultimate reversal of the multiple and the banal nature of his subjects: lightbulbs, maps, flags, targets, numbers. Every lightbulb has its price.


Shedding a New, Electricity-Saving Light on Retail Outlets -New York Times Article July 30, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in LED Lights, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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Zoinks! It looks like LEDs are starting to really come on strong! Retail Stores like Wal-Mart seem to be buying in.

Dr. Z



Wal-Mart parking lot in Leavenworth, Kan., is for all intents and purposes a giant laboratory.



The company is testing out new light-emitting diode (LED) lights to illuminate the area as part of an energy efficiency project involving a score of other retailers and the U.S. Energy Department. The goal is to see whether it can successfully implement a new form of lighting that could give the shopping malls of America a stark new look.

It may also bring a new look to corporate balance sheets because it promises more than 50 percent energy savings and an 80 percent reduction in maintenance costs, while reducing light “drift,” or what some people call light pollution, from disturbing nearby neighborhoods.

In a collaboration that began in April last year, Wal-Mart, DOE and 11 other major retailers launched a working group to figure out what characteristics would be necessary to successfully use LED lighting in a retail parking lot setting.

The project came out of the Retailer Energy Alliance, a coalition of about 40 retailers working with the Energy Department to find ways to reduce energy use through innovative new technologies. The idea behind the alliance is that it can be costly to install some of the new technologies. To combat that, DOE works with the retailers to come up with specifications for common energy applications.

The alliance is currently working on several projects, but the LED project is the “most ripe,” said Dru Crawley, DOE’s commercial building team leader, because the efficiencies for solid-state lighting are already there.

Will shoppers buy it?

So Wal-Mart decided to use its new Kansas store, which opened this month, as a guinea pig. “We wanted to test the technology parameters of the recommendations … to find out how it actually performs in the environment and with our shoppers,” said Don Moseley, Wal-Mart’s director of sustainable facilities.

Some of the features include a projected 10-year maintenance requirement, compared with a current two-year relamping time frame, and controlled optics that focus the light on the parking lot, eliminating much of the light “drift” that occurs now.

The parking lot is now filled with 33 poles supporting 92 fixtures. The energy savings and performance will be monitored on an annual basis, and after the first year, the company will start evaluating the project’s success, Moseley said.

He declined to discuss the up-front costs beyond estimating that there is currently an estimated three- to six-year payback period, saying that because it is a new technology that is being tested, the costs do not reflect the true market value. “While that cost is an important decision, if all the other parameters prove true and the other savings are there, and we have a safe and secure shopping environment, at that point, then, we try to negotiate for volume purchase.”

One area the company will be monitoring closely is customer acceptance, said Ralph Williams, an electrical engineer with the company. It will also be watching energy use, performance and light depreciation from an outage perspective and from an overall maintenance perspective.

The goal is that as these factors are watched, the Kansas store will be used in DOE’s Gateway Demonstration project, making it a showcase for various LED products. According to the department’s Web site, it could help spur the use of the new technology.

Other energy efficiency partnerships in the works

There are two other alliances currently working with the Energy Department: the Commercial Real Estate Energy Alliance and the Hospital Energy Alliance, both of which launched in April. The Retailer Alliance was the first to start, beginning in February last year.

For example, commercial real estate owners and large retailers have agreed to work with the department to try to reach 50 percent energy savings throughout an entire new building, and 30 percent in one existing building.

“The idea is not just one each, but it’s to take what is learned and move on toward changing prototypes so you’re getting significant energy savings from technologies that work in existing buildings that can move through entire portfolio,” Crawley said.

This project has 23 industry partners and began in November, Crawley said. DOE is getting ready to review initial plans for each for achieving efficiency plans, and the next step for new buildings is construction. For existing buildings, the next step is retrofitting.

These kinds of alliances are demonstrating how the department can use its position to help various industry sectors achieve real energy efficiency, Crawley said.

“This is an example of what can be done,” he said. “The department can be the broker to make sure that the energy efficiency claims are met and that the owners get what they expect.”

The next sector DOE is eyeing for an energy efficiency partnership is higher education, Crawley said, which has already made significant strides on its own. “We’re talking with colleges, universities and community colleges to see what we can do there,” Crawley said. “We want to see how we can support them and help in their efforts to save energy.”

The is something fishy about these LEDs..Literally! July 27, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in LED Lights, light bulb, Uncategorized, Weird Bulb News.
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There is something fishy about these LEDs

There is something fishy about these LEDs



Dr. Z



I’m Not Kidding
By now there’s little doubt that LED-based lightbulbs are the future, and while a lot of cool LED technology still needs to make its way from the lab to the store, it’s exciting to see that engineers are still finding new ways to squeeze more performance out of those semiconductor diodes. The latest breakthrough comes from the University of Connecticut, and it uses salmon DNA to create very long-lasting white LEDs (though they can be tuned to other colors). Read on for more details.


dna double helix image

A Bit More Technical Information About the Salmon DNA LEDs
Fluorescent dyes (two different ones, spaced between 2 and 10 nanometers from each other) are added to the DNA molecules, which are then spun into nanofibers. These are very durable because DNA is a particularly strong polymer (it has to be!) (they should last 50 times longer than acrylic, for example).

A LED emitting ultra-violet light is then coated with the DNA nanofibers: “When UV light is shined on the material, one dye absorbs the energy and produces blue light. If the other dye molecule is at the right distance, it will absorb part of that blue-light energy and emit orange light.” Using DNA has the benefit of orienting the dyes “in an optimum way for efficient [fluorescence energy transfer] to occur,” according to David Walt, a chemistry professor at Tufts University.

To tune the light quality, all you need to do is vary the ratios of dye. The light can be tuned from cool white to warm white, for example.

Not Ready for the (LED) Limelight Yet
Unfortunately, numbers on how many lumens per watt these LEDs produce haven’t been released yet (though that might just be because they’re still improving them), so it’s not clear if the main benefit from these will be the longer life, or if the extra fine tuning will also mean better light quality than other white LED (like
those that use quantum dots, for example), or if energy efficiency will also be superior. But it’s a new trick that will no doubt be useful.

I’m a bit sick of writing this phrase – “it’s too early to tell” – but that’s how it is with discoveries straight out of the lab. Maybe someday we’ll have a bit of DNA in our lights…



Zoinks! Germans are Hoarding Traditional Light Bulbs. July 27, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in incandescent light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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Zoinks! Its seems that not everybody is happy with the EU’s ban on incandescent light bulbs. In the following article from Germany’s Der Speigel magazine, the hoarding of  incandescent light bulbs is now common place. Soon they will be a hot item on the black market! Gadzooks!

Dr. Z





Germans Hoarding Traditional Light Bulbs The staggered phase out of energy-wasting light bulbs begins on Sept. 1 in Germany. The unpopularity of the energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs that will replace them is leading consumers and retailers to start hoarding the traditional bulbs. As the Sept. 1 deadline for the implementation of the first phase of the EU’s ban on incandescent light bulbs approaches, shoppers, retailers and even museums are hoarding the precious wares — and helping the manufacturers make a bundle. DPA Germans are hoarding traditional incandescent light bulbs as their planned phase out — in favor of energy-saving compact flourescent bulbs — approaches. The EU ban, adopted in March, calls for the gradual replacement of traditional light bulbs with supposedly more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL). The first to go, on Sept. 1, will be 100-watt bulbs. Bulbs of other wattages will then gradually fall under the ban, which is expected to cover all such bulbs by Sept. 1, 2012 (see graphic below). Hardware stores and home-improvement chains in Germany are seeing massive increases in the sales of the traditional bulbs. Obi reports a 27 percent growth in sales over the same period a year ago. Hornbach has seen its frosted-glass light bulb sales increase by 40-112 percent. When it comes to 100-watt bulbs, Max Bahr has seen an 80 percent jump in sales, while the figure has been 150 percent for its competitor Praktiker. “It’s unbelievable what is happening,” says Werner Wiesner, the head of Megaman, a manufacturer of energy-saving bulbs. Wiesner recounts a story of how one of his field representatives recently saw a man in a hardware store with a shopping cart full of light bulbs of all types worth more than €200 ($285). “That’s enough for the next 20 years.” And hoarding doesn’t seem to be just a customer phenomenon. The EU law only forbids producing and importing incandescent bulbs but does not outlaw their sale. “We’ve stocked up well,” a spokesman for Praktiker told SPIEGEL. And what’s ironic — in the short term, at least — is that the companies that manufacture the climate-killing bulbs are seeing a big boost in sales. According to the GfK market research company, sales in Germany of incandescent light bulbs between January and April 20, 2009, saw a 20 percent jump over the same period a year earlier, while CFL sales shrank by 2 percent. ‘Light Bulb Socialism’ The EU’s ban was originally meant to help it reach its targets on energy efficiency and climate protection. Though much cheaper to buy, incandescent bulbs have long been seen as wasteful because only 5 percent of the energy they consume goes to light production, with the rest just becoming heat. And consumers were also supposed to feel a positive effect in their pocketbooks as well. European Energy Commission Andris Piebalgs has estimated that the average European household will save €50 per year on electricity bills and that annual CO2 emissions in Europe will be cut by 15 millions tons. DER SPIEGEL Schedule for the implementation of the EU ban on flourescent light bulbs. But — like laws on bent cucumbers — many have mocked the light bulb legislation as just another example of an EU bureaucracy gone wild. Holger Krahmer, for example, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany’s business-friendly FDP party has accused the EU of imposing ‘light bulb socialism.” In fact, in creating this legislation, the EU failed to address consumer preferences and the reservations of a number of other groups. For example, many have complained that the light emitted by a CFL bulb is colder and weaker and that its high-frequency flickering can cause headaches. Then there are complaints about the mercury the CFL bulbs contain, how there is no system for disposing of them in a convenient and environmentally friendly way, and how they allegedly result in exposure to radiation levels higher than allowed under international guidelines. For some, the issue is also one of broken promises. For example, manufacturers of CFL bulbs justify their higher prices by claiming that they last much longer than traditional bulbs. But a recent test by the environmentally-oriented consumer-protection magazine Öko Test found that 16 of the 32 bulb types tested gave up the ghost after 6,000 hours of use — or much earlier than their manufacturers had promised. And then, of course, there’s the issue of the light the bulbs emit. Many complain that the lights are just not bright enough and that they falsify colors. The Hamburger Kunsthalle, for example, recently made a bulk order for 600 incandescent light bulbs to make sure that it can keep illuminating the works it displays in the time-honored way.  The aesthetic issue is a powerful one. For Munich-based lighting designer Ingo Maurer, the CFL bulbs are ushering in a decrease in the quality of life. “We recommend protests against the ban, civil disobedience and the timely hoarding of lighting implements,” Maurer told SPIEGEL. He also adds that he believes the ban might drive more people to use more candles, which are about as bad as you can get in terms of energy efficiency. As Wiesner sees it, Brussels did it all wrong. Rather than banning incandescent bulbs, Wiesner argues, it should have slapped a €5 surcharge on every incandescent bulb, arguing that it would have made people think a bit more before buying them. “That move alone would have been enough to allow the EU to achieve its goal,” Wiesner says. Reported by Alexander Jung

Dancing and singing Light bulb. Reddy Killowatt sings! July 22, 2009

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Zoinks! Reddy Killowatt sings a snappy tune!

Dr. Z



Here is a short commercial message about how electricity powers your nice suburban 1950s home featuring the character Reddy Kilowatt. Note the artist’s rendering of a Philco Predicta TV set in the background.

LED lighting: A bright idea Great article on LED from Star Tribune July 20, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in LED Lights, light bulb.
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Zoinks! A great article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune on LED lighting!
Dr. Z
I35 bathed in blue light of leds

I35 bathed in blue light of leds

Nighttime commuters driving over the reconstructed Interstate 35W bridge may notice a bluish glow coming from the ten pairs of street lights lighting their way. Mounted 40 feet above the traffic, the lights are not bulbs but rows of LEDs, or light-emitting diodes — similar to those found in stoplights and laser pointers.

“This is the first interstate highway to be lit with LED lighting,” said Kevin Orth, director of sales for Wisconsin-based BetaLED, which makes the lights. LEDs are coming to the streets of Eden Prairie, where officials are replacing the city’s old street lights, and already illuminate the parking lot of a Cub Foods store in St. Paul’s Phalen neighborhood, which last month became the second certified energy-efficient supermarket in the country.

For large projects like these, the long-run savings in energy and maintenance, as well as the environmental concerns, generally outweigh the short-run costs.

This growing use of LEDs by government and industry marks a move away from traditional incandescent bulbs and, more recently, the more-efficient fluorescent lights that have come on the market. Although LEDs cost more to manufacture than other lighting options, they consume a small fraction of the energy of even fluorescent bulbs and last 25 to 30 years.

Lighting still accounts for as much as 20 percent of electricity used around the world, so improving lighting technology by even a little bit can lead to great savings in energy and reductions in greenhouse gases.

New lighting standards

On June 29, President Obama unveiled new, stricter lighting standards to accompany the phasing out of incandescent bulbs (which already are banned in parts of Europe) and to provide $50 million in funding for the development of “solid-state lighting” technologies such as LEDs.

“We could save 50 percent of the energy that is currently being used for lighting by switching to LEDs,” said Fred Schubert, an electrical engineer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

The standard 60-watt light bulb gets its number from the amount of energy required to light it up. An incandescent bulb runs an electric current through a thin metal wire, but only about 5 percent of the current gets turned into light.

Fluorescent bulbs, which send electricity through a thin gas, are much more efficient, turning 20 to 30 percent of the energy into light; so a 13-watt fluorescent bulb is about as bright as a 60-watt incandescent. Fluorescent bulbs are often described not in watts but in efficiency, measured in lumens (brightness) per watt.

Compared with the typical fluorescent light — which achieves about 60 lumens per watt — LEDs in the lab have surpassed 120 lumens per watt. They pass electric current through a thin sandwich of a semiconductor such as silicon, causing electrons to move around and pop into vacancies left by other electrons — like guests checking in and out of hotel rooms — to send out tiny packets of light.

Despite their efficiency, LEDs have not yet found their way into broad use in home lighting, due in part to cost and because it has been difficult to get them to glow with the white light that people are accustomed to.

LEDs are more expensive than other lights, and bringing the price down has proven difficult. Every decade or so the price of LEDs falls by a factor of 10, while their performance increases by a factor of 10.

For now, LED bulbs aren’t cheap — Home Depot is selling on its website the LED equivalent of a 25-watt incandescent bulb for $10.99. On the other hand, it draws only 3 watts of electricity and is rated for 100,000 hours of use.

“The cost of the LED product is five to 10 times more expensive for the same [brightness],” said Maria Anc of Osram Sylvania, which will release its first 100-lumens-per-watt LED bulb for the home this summer. “What we need to bring down the cost is 10 to 100 times more production worldwide.”

In search of warmer light

Another obstacle for LEDs is the quality of the light they produce, known as the “color rendering index” (CRI). Sunlight has a CRI of 100, fluorescent bulbs can reach 98, but LEDs struggle to achieve 70. The color of light generated by a single LED depends on the kind of material it is made of, and the typical way of making white LED light is to embed blue LEDs in yellow material that whitens the light. Even so, LED lighting has a reputation for being harsh and unpleasant.

An option for making LED light pleasant is being developed by Stephen Campbell, director of the University of Minnesota’s Nanofabrication Center. His technology, recently unveiled at an electronics conference in San Francisco, runs electricity through tiny bits of materials as small as 20 atoms wide. The size of these “quantum dots” determines what color of light will shine out of it. By grouping dots of different sizes together, Campbell hopes to mix and match different colors to create white light. “We’re making these out of silicon, which should be dirt-cheap and nontoxic,” said Campbell.

“LEDs are everywhere, in car headlights, traffic lights, refrigerators, parking lots, TVs, and cell phones,” said Brian D’Andrade, senior associate at the consulting firm Exponent. But incandescent lights are “hard to get rid of in residential homes,” he said, and to compete LEDs will need to be able to put out bright, warm, white light at a reasonable price.

Dr. Z is a runner up in the Mighty Boosh dance video. July 17, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in compact fluorescent, Light bulbs in pop culture, Weird Bulb News.
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Zoinks! Dr. Z’s video for the Mighty Boosh dance video contest! Never would have guessed! Maybe our Freakbeat mojo came through?


Just for Fun! Weird Light Bulb Illusion! July 14, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in List Article, Weird Bulb News.
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Zoinks! Check out this video.For maximum effect view in full screen!

Dr. Z


Study looks at ‘excited’ lightbulb atoms July 10, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in incandescent light bulb, light bulb, Theory for argument sake..
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Zoinks! Its me Dr. Z! Light bulbs are in the news all over the place and its seems that everybody’s atom are getting excited about the possibility of the perfect light source.. and speaking of excited atoms check out the story below on how “excited”



Study looks at ‘excited’ lightbulb atomsJuly 10, 2009 – 5:24PM A groundbreaking study measuring how long atoms stay “excited” could help scientists build better and more energy efficient lightbulbs, its authors say. Researchers from the Australian National University in Canberra found excited helium atoms – a key ingredient in most fluorescent lighting – remained in that state for 8,000 seconds or just over two hours. The precise finding could lead the way to building more efficient lights, Professor Ken Baldwin said. The year-long study shone a light into the murky world of excited atoms, he said. “Without that exact data, you are in some degree working in the dark,” he told AAP. “It’s a piece of fundamental scientific evidence that could be well utilised in the lighting industry.” Lightbulbs are charged by igniting gases, such as helium, with electricity, Prof Baldwin said. This simple discovery of knowing how long atoms stay excited would help technicians to potentially use less electricity. The research team used lasers to isolate a cloud of helium atoms within a vacuum, measuring the rate at which they emitted ultraviolet photons to revert back to their normal, stable state. Prof Baldwin said there had been just one earlier attempt by scientists to measure the duration of excited helium atoms, but it had not been accurate. This latest finding was correct to within six per cent.

Mr. Y Michael Jackson Memorial Dance! ToTheLIGHT July 8, 2009

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Mr. Y loves Michael Jackson and wanted help Michael Dance his way to the light. Thanks for the years joyful dance and song Michael!

Dr. Z


 Zoinks! Its me Dr. Z! Would you believe that I now have my own dance contest? Zbulbs has decided to create a competition based on my Dance of the 7 Spirals! You can win an IPOD CLASSIC! http://zbulbsmedia.com/danceRules.htm