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An Internet Adventure! (Also: Black Lights)

In an attempt to find some new uses for black lights and UV products for this week's article, I turned to my source for all knowledge and information, the Internet! First, I surfed over to www.googlism.com, and fed it the term "black light." The Googlism program, for those readers who haven't seen it in action, uses the Google search engine to generate a list of what the Internet has to say about whatever you ask it. Sometimes the results are helpful, sometimes they are almost poetically obscure, and usually there's one or two that just leave you scratching your head. Here, in no particular order, are a few of the results I got for my query on black light:

* black light is uv light

* black light is the perfect solution for entry id systems at entertainment venues

* black light is a basically a fluorescent lamp with a different sort of phosphor coating

* black light is one of the very few scientific instruments the average person can both afford and easily use

* black light is not abundantly rich in melodic material

* black light is a space where all colors are manifested

* black light is a protectorant against aging and a jaundice retardant

Hmm, those last three are definitely of the head-scratcher variety. The rest don't seem too helpful either, although I am reminded that you can use a portable black light (#BL06) and some Invisible UV Ink (#UV50-B) for a quick-n-easy security system at your concert, party, or haunted attraction. Also, some scout leaders like to use this fairly inexpensive system for demonstrations on codes and secret writing.

You know, I haven't "Asked Jeeves" about anything in a long time. I wonder what that imaginary butler over at www.ask.com has to say about black light. (clicka-clicka-clicka) Oh. Now I remember why I don't "Ask Jeeves" about stuff anymore. Oh well, at least there's a link to the home page of an interesting theatre company in Prague. It has nothing to do with black light, but it does remind me that you can use UV paints on black fabric to create special effect dance costumes. For example, one company painted black unitards with fluorescent green and blue paints to create "dancing skeletons" for a spooky number. As with any black light effect, the key to making that effect work was to use only black light (no other stage lights or spot lights) and to place the black lights as close as possible to the paints. In this case, the black light fixtures were placed along the front of the stage like footlights.

Almost a year ago, I read about this weird search engine called Kartoo (www.kartoo.com) that shows your search results as a map. Supposedly, this allows you to see the relationships of different results to your search term, and how different sites interact. It sounded a little too gimmicky for me at the time, but maybe it's time I gave it a try. (clicka-clicka-clicka) Aha. Yes, well, that's certainly very...pretty. Unfortunately, a "relational map" of the sites related to black lights doesn't really do much for me except to tell me that there are sites on the Internet related to black lights, and some of those sites are linked to each other.

The pretty, swirly pictures that Kartoo made out of my search request did, however, remind me that our UV paints can be used with regular paints to create a design on the wall in a night club, skating rink or similar establishment. Combining UV paint with regular paint makes a design that will look great under even normal light, but really "pops" when you hit it with a black light. Some artists even work in designs and pictures (like a band name or a company logo) that blend into the design and only really show up under the black light.

Well, it certainly seems like the Internet has failed me this time. I guess I should get back to the research methods that have served me so well over the years here at Theatre Effects. Research methods like talking with customers to see how they're using our products, going to trade shows to see what's new, and reading all the latest industry journals to see what's coming. And if those methods fail me, a quick look at this article will at least remind me of what not to use! 


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