Using corn cob lights to beat seasonal blues

The various ways of measuring Seattle’s rainfall compared to other cities, the impact of low sunlight on mental health and energy levels, and personal strategies for coping with Seattle’s lack of sunlight, especially the use of corn cob lightbulbs.

Lucas A. Meyer


December 14, 2021

There are a lot of tech companies in Seattle, and if you know something about Seattle, it’s probably that it rains a lot. Here’s how I deal with the big dark.

For all its fame, #Seattle gets 37 inches of rain per year. Sunny Miami gets 62 inches. Of course, measuring things is tricky, and an art that we #DataScientists are (or at least should be) very familiar with. Measuring things differently, Seattle has around 150 “sunny days” per year, and Miami has around 250. That’s almost three months less.

Measuring things in yet another way, the average number of hours of sunlight in Seattle per year is approximately 2,000. Miami and LA get approximately 3,200. Las Vegas gets 3,800. Besides being cloudy and rainy, Seattle is further to the north, and the sun sets before 5 PM for a large part of the winter.

I find that the lack of sunlight gets to me a lot more than the rain and the temperature, both of which I actually enjoy.

One trick I learned is to use “corn cob lightbulbs” everywhere in my house. A 50W corn cob bulb produces 5,000 lumens. A typical 13W CFL light produces about 1,000 lumens, the same as a 60W incandescent light. After installing corn cob lightbulbs in my office, I started feeling a lot less tired after a long day of #wfh during the winter, even finding energy to cook and play board games with my kids.

If you’re considering to move to Seattle, it’s not about the umbrellas. It rarely rains hard enough to justify using one. It’s more about finding a way of being outside when there’s sunlight (and there are plenty of great things to do around Seattle what that’s the case) and getting enough illumination when one can’t go out.