A green Christmas

I have heard and read about some pretty interesting Christmas trees, like OLED Holiday Tree, made by the research and development team from GE. Back in 2008 GE began to challenge the throne which the incandescent light bulb has been sitting on for what they think has been too long.

GE’s R&D guys have produced a machine that prints OLED materials newspaper-style onto eight-inch sheets of metal foil in hopes that the sheets (which can be pinned to just about any surface) would have change the way we light our homes and Christmas trees by 2010. Although the technology still isn’t cheap enough to give a meaningful charge for the crown, GE still has high hopes for it and proudly showed off their fully lighted tree.

There was even a system administrator by the name “Trigger”, who was bursting with holiday spirit and maybe had a bit too much time on his hands when he took a heap of hard drives destined for the scrap heap and rather than wipe the possibly highly confidential data on them he decided to build a Christmas tree.

In fact, the geeky holiday decor was made entirely from the bits and pieces within the drives, the only expense came with the purchase of a bolt for a whopping 39 cents, making this a very cheap, very knowledgeable tree.

Over in England, at General Motors, subsidiary Vauxhall commissioned designer Gary Card to cook up a Christmas tree cunningly made out of parts from a Vauxhall Ampera, which honestly is a Chevrolet Volt (electric car) with a Vauxhall badge. At night the leaves light up and beautifully reveal the mechanical inner-workings.

But the Germans have taken things a bit further, with the aid of a government grant. Scientists in Germany are trying to develop a method of tree cloning suited to Nordmann Fir. This is the pine most used for yuletide trimmings, but unfortunately can be very difficult to grow, with up to 40 per cent of trees intended for households winding up the wrong shade of green (trust the Germans to have a standard for the tree’s colour) and many also having their growth stunted by forest conditions.

Plant biologists hope to have a healthy stock of cloned trees ready by 2016, assuming nothing goes terribly wrong.

So whatever your tree is made from, or what powers the lights on it, I hope everyone enjoys the season, and spends time with friends and family and most of all be safely.

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