I'm currently visiting the center for Computational Science and Engineering at UC Davis for a few weeks. They are located in a new mathematical sciences building. The lights in the office I'm sharing are turned off and on automatically by a motion detector device. The idea, I suppose, is that the lights will turn off if nobody is around, thus conserving energy.
This makes a lot of sense for a hallway and maybe even a bathroom. If nobody's there, no need to have the lights on. However, this doesn't work in a room full of theoretical physicists. See, the harder I work, the less I move. When I'm getting work done, I barely move at all. So the lights keep going off. Every two minutes and thirty seconds. To get the lights to go back on I have to roll away from my desk a little bit so I'm not obscured by my desk partition and wave at the motion sensor. I suppose this is decent exercise. But it gets a little annoying. Fortunately, there's a small light on my desk. So when the main lights go out I'm not in total darkness. I've pretty much given up using the main lights and just use the desk light now.
Anyway, this isn't a major inconvenience. But one has to wonder: whose great idea was it to have lights operated by motion detectors in the offices of a math building?
2 days ago