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Street Lights react to passersby?

  1. Aug 27, 2010 #1
    Hello... this is my first post and it involves a question that I have regarding Electromagnetic Fields and their relationship to the Human Body. The reason for this inquiry is due to a phenomenon I've experience since I was about 7 years old. However, I've not really given it much thought until recently. I notice when I go out for evening walks in my neighborhood, as I approach street lights that are dim, they suddenly become the standard brightness of the accompaning light poles on whatever street I happen to be walking on. I tested this phenomenon to see if by chance it was my body affecting the sensors. I would have my girlfriend walk pass a street light that was dim to see if anything would happen. In 100% of the times she approached or passed a streetlight, nothing happened. But, when I approached the same light or lights, suddenly the light illuminates as if it experienced a power surge. I have done this numerous times to make sure I wasn't imagining things. Therefore my question is... is it possible for the electromagnetic energy to be so stong in ones body that it induces the previously mentioned effects? Its bugging me to no end and my girlfriend is beginning to wonder if i'm from outer space or something. Any serious explanation will be appreciated. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
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  3. Aug 27, 2010 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Street Lights

    No. There is no reason that anyone can imagine why your presense would affect a street light.

    Many cities alternate power to street lights to conserve energy. This has long caused people to think that somehow they are affecting the lights. It is a coincidence.

    Also, the lights take time to turn on completely. They go though a period of low light before reaching full power [brightness]. And they will sometimes flash as they power up.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
  4. Aug 27, 2010 #3
    Re: Street Lights

    It's probably because you're changing the angle at which you view the light when you walk toward it. Like if you look at a laptop screen from the side, it'll be dim, but if you look at it from the center, it looks bright.
     
  5. Aug 27, 2010 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Street Lights

    Given the test between prinzlb and his girlfriend, that would seemingly be ruled out. The op describes a common urban myth caused by the seemingly responsive action of the lights. As these lights go on and off [for power conservation], and as they turn on [sometimes they will turn on and off for a period of time before going to full brightness] someone is bound to be walking by at just the right time, from time to time. It may also be that some lights are simply failing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbPVNn3Z7mo
     
  6. Aug 27, 2010 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    One caveat: If some cities now use radio communications to control the lights, it might be conceivable that a person could interfere with the radio signal. But that seems highly unlikely since the transmitters and receivers would surely be located at the top of the pole. Beyond that, I have never heard of RF being used for light control, but it did strike me as a remote [very remote] possibility. Radio modems having a range up to 1 mile, w/ 256 or more programmable addresses, are now available on a $20 chip. In principle, the lights could be daisy-chained to receive, and then xmit to the next station.

    However, even if this is done, it seems all but impossible that someone would interfere with the signal just by approaching the light. That would require a really bad design, to say the least.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
  7. Aug 27, 2010 #6

    Redbelly98

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    Also, old high pressure sodium lamps will cycle on and off (and perhaps other types of street lamps do this as well?) as they near the end of their useful life. Nothing to do with conserving energy or anything intentional. As the lamps lose sodium over their lifetime, the voltage required to run them increases above what can be supplied, and they will shut down. However, a cold lamp requires less voltage than a warm one, so once the shut-off lamp cools sufficiently the line voltage is sufficient to restart it -- until it heats up to where the line voltage is insufficient, and it shuts off again.

    -- a former GE Lighting employee.
     
  8. Aug 28, 2010 #7

    Evo

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    I've witnessed this quite often, as I approach a street light, it turns off.
     
  9. Aug 28, 2010 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    Oh now Evo, this is just an illusion. You simply outshine the light, so it appears to grow dim.
     
  10. Aug 28, 2010 #9

    Redbelly98

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    I have witnessed this just sitting in my car, neither approaching nor moving away from the light.
     
  11. Aug 28, 2010 #10
    How is it that this phenomenon is POORLY repeatable? Cause it's a myth.

    That is, you are walking under a streetlight and it shuts-off. You take notice of it.
    But you walk under a hundred more of the same type and nothing at all happens.
    Yet you remember and somehow personally associate with the previous one that did.

    It is a COINCIDENCE. If it were not, many more streetlights would shut-off as opposed to 1 in 100. No magic, no paranormal, no anything strange at all.
    As was said earlier, recall viewing streetlights turning-off well before you even approach.

    Bottom line, just a statistical coincidence, nothing more.
     
  12. Aug 28, 2010 #11
    Well, not really. If he stays in the same spot as his girlfriend walks toward the light, then his perspective doesn't change and he doesn't see it get brighter.
     
  13. Aug 31, 2010 #12
    Thank all of you for your explanations. I wanted to clarify the fact that this seemingly is not a factor of the timing of lights going on and off automatically. What I mean is that when I approach a streetlight that is dim, it become highly illuminated and as soon as I pass it, then it becomes dim again as it was in the beginning. I back up... it brightens. I step forward and it dims again. So I was wondering if this could possibly have anything to do with electromagnetic energy emitting from my body?... when my girlfriend tries to repeat the process, nothing happens.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  14. Aug 31, 2010 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    We already told you, no. You should get a camera and make a video, then post it, unedited, on youtube. But do many many trials, no less than 100, to show that this happens reliably. Then post a link here.

    If you can do this realiably, then you can make a video to prove what you claim, and we don't need to take your word for it. Claims that can be supported with evidence, must be supported with evidence.
     
  15. Aug 31, 2010 #14
    By the way... I just want to submit this follow up inquiry to my previous posting. The dim lights which I approach are among a row of brightly lit streetlights. As I walk through my neighborhood, I pass rows of lights which are brightly illuminated, however, as soon as I come into very close proximity of a dim streetlight, then it suddenly illuminates as the other streetlights on the blvd. When I pass, it becomes dim again as if it is on very low battery power or something. This is not a random occurrence. It does happen with every dim streetlight I encounter. I've tested this in numerous ways with my girlfriend when we take our evening strolls and it has yet to fail. Except when she tries to repeat the process.
     
  16. Aug 31, 2010 #15
    Thanks IVAN SEEKING. I will do just that so that you all will know i'm not making this up. Do I need a YOUTUBE ACCOUNT or can I just directly post it on YOUTUBE after I've filmed the results? Also, how can I satisfy the requirement of performing at least 100 trials? If I do this and just post one occurrence, couldn't someone say that particular result was just random? what would be the best way to go about doing this so that there will be no skeptism?
     
  17. Aug 31, 2010 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    I would suggest that you just mount the camera at a good spot where you and the light can clearly be seen, turn it on, and start approaching the light, and then backing up away from it, at fixed intervals - the same each time. For example, walk towards the light from the same spot each time, at the same speed, stop at the same spot under the light each time, wait five seconds, and back away at the same speed until you stop where you began. Wait five seconds, and do it again. After 50 trials, wait ten seconds each time, and do 50 more trials. Leave the camera running the entire time, and post the entire video at YouTube. And yes, posting a few coincidental timing examples has no value. You would have to show beyond any reaonable doubt, that you can reliably affect the light each and every time, or nearly so. And it would have to be a public street light, and not potentially a privately-owned light of some sort that could be manipulated.

    I have never posted a video to YouTube, but I'm sure that they provide all of the information needed.

    If you are really going to do this, beyond all else, be safe. You should have a friend helping. And you should show that someone else does not affect the light, in the same manner.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  18. Sep 3, 2010 #17
    It wasn't exactly a "passerby," but I watched one individual turn one off when he hit the pole with his car...
     
  19. Sep 6, 2010 #18
    Myself and a couple others I know, have experienced street lights going off just when driving under them, sometimes coming on from completely off. Ever get the sense you see the traffic light change just before it does?
     
  20. Sep 6, 2010 #19
    I've had this multiple times, and not just one light but many in a row. I was walking by one street light, it turned off, as I approached the second light the first turned on again, followed by the second. I was crossing the street and zigzagged to the opposite side. Third street light same thing. On my return home, the exact same lights reacted in the same way. If it if coincidence, what's the probability that that would happen. It happens all the time, every single night I walk outside. For as long as I can remember.
     
  21. Sep 6, 2010 #20

    Ivan Seeking

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    Make a video exactly as described above, post it on You Tube, and provide a link here. Claims that can be tested, esp when they can be tested so easily, must be presented with evidence.

    My opinion is that these claims cannot be supported with any credible evidence, because it's nothing but random chance.
     
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