Reporting In From The FIRST Lego Robotics Competition

Last month the FIRST Robotics National Championship was held at the Georgia Dome, only several blocks from my house, so I ventured over to report on the events lasting from Wednesday to Saturday. The entire extravaganza was sponsored by Vex, Lego, and NASA, amoung others. The National Championship in Atlanta is the culmination of regional competitions throughout the US and Canada. Three separate events were simultaneously taking place under one roof. The FIRST Lego League (FLL) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) are both kit-based problem solving competitions for kids aged 9-14 and high school students. Additionally, the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is an open-ended design competition which allows high school students the freedom to construct their robot from the materials of their choosing. The three competitions are entirely different; each has a unique playing field, set of objectives, and scoring method.
Continue reading “Reporting In From The FIRST Lego Robotics Competition”

Light Bulb Efficiency Calculator

8/18/2012 UPDATE: From the comments, Andy pointed out that I had a mistake in my calculations. In the c_total equation, I should have divided by 1000, instead of multiplying by 1000. After he pointed this out, I checked the java script code as well. I had made an even more egregious mistake there. I had correctly divided by 1000 but I also had divided by power cost (dollars per kilowatt hour). I’ve now fixed the equation and the script. I also regenerated the results from the examples.

I am slowly upgrading the incandescent light bulbs in my house with more efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs. However the higher purchase price of the new bulbs has me wondering if they are actually “worth it.” I also thought whether an even more efficient type of bulb, perhaps an LED light bulb, would be better.


So, I set out to determine a value which would best quantify the “worth” of different bulbs and rank each based on this value.
Continue reading “Light Bulb Efficiency Calculator”