War Monument Hacking


[Timo] tipped us off about a War Monument that has been… upgraded. The story starts when a monument was erected in Cherkassy, Ukraine to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice that was made by Russian soldiers during World War II. The huge statue and expansive plaza were capped off by an eternal flame. Unfortunately, when the Soviet Block broke up, the natural gas that had been provided by the government became a luxury so the flame was extinguished.

The eternal flame sat unlit, a sad commentary to the remembrance of the dead. But how to fix this issue? As cell phone companies came into the area, a need for cell phone towers arose. At some point a solution was reached; a cell phone tower was built in the bowl of the eternal flame and then wrapped with an LED marquee. The marquee now displays the image of a flame in perpetuity.

We’re not quite sure what to think about this. After some adjustment, the substitution of LEDs for flames will probably become accepted. The monument is now providing a useful purpose for the living, and once again shows a flame. We think that having something there showing that the memory is still alive is much better than the message an unkempt derelict sends.

42 thoughts on “War Monument Hacking

  1. I like the use of LEDs instead of natural gas. It’s definitely the greener solution but I’m not sure I’d be able to look at the statue again and not instantly think “cell phone tower”.

  2. The LEDs look like crap. They should completely cover the cell tower hardware, and they should try to blend the off cells with the color of the sky so that it doesn’t just look like a black cylinder. Probably looks better at night.

  3. @Oxin

    “definitely a greener solution” Huh?

    Where do you think the electricity comes from that lights those LEDs? What do you suppose they burn to generate the juice?

    They probably burn coal or possibly diesel fuel. Even if they use gas, the process of burning it, generating steam, turning a generator, delivering the power, and lighting LEDs is guaranteed to be *less* efficient than simply burning a little bit of gas by itself. Let’s not forget the “carbon footprint” associated with refining semiconductors, producing epoxy, and manufacturing the LEDs themselves.

    Please, sweet Jesus! Please made humans stop using that stupid “g” word.

  4. I personaly can’t imagine, how leds can replace real flame, I’m not a city freak.
    And, knowing litle bit about history, I don’t blame Ukraine, thet they dont burn money for СССР legacy.

  5. In a rousing speech during the dedication ceremonies, a retired and aged Colonel said:

    Я говорю Вам, товарищам, что Вы не должны умирать напрасно, нет, Вы дали вашу жизнь, что другие могут иметь все четыре бруска на их Ежевике!


    I say to you, comrades, that you shall not have died in vain, nay, you have given your life that others may have all four bars on their Blackberries!

  6. It think it looks tacky they should have replaced it with a flame structure, such as on the Statue of Liberty. You could place the cell equipment inside the lighted flame and no one would know and it would look good. The LEDs only look good at night.

  7. I’m sure the energy usage of the LEDs is insignificant compared to the energy used by the cell tower they enclose.

    I think they should put green flickering LEDs in the statue’s eyes as well.

    from the article, haha:
    “And veterans are glad that something is burning again. Well when one has not to sharp eyesight
    it’s not looking so much different.”

  8. @Oxin

    No, don’t be sorry. I was mostly just rattling your cage. It’s a peave of mine that every darn thing has to be “green” now-a-days. The whole mindset is becoming some kind of cult religion.

    The annoying thing is that most “green” things are not green at all. The very concept has been so abused so as to become meaningless, in much the same was as the phrase “organic food.”

    On the upside, if your are pro big government, the green religion is a great way to manipulate people, get them to give up more tax money, and more of their freedoms. If you are big business, “green” is a great way to sucker you into buying things you don’t need, in order to replace other things that work fine just the way they are.

  9. @pookey, You’re way off base. Burning natural gas to generate power to run LEDs is much more effecient than burning the gas directly. In fact I’d bet that burning the gas for 5 minutes could power the LEDs all day. No, natural gas is about the least efficient form of lighting there is… which is why it was replaced by electricity for lighting in the 1900s.

    Dan K

  10. my first thought was wow look how fake that looks.

    @Dan K, yes LED’s are low energy usage, but the flame is not intended to light any measurable area, nor is it to serve any other purpose other then be a symbol of the sacrifice given.
    as for LED’s vs gas to “look” like flame, Joule’s laws.
    just remember money is “green”, that’s all the greenie’s really want

    ~I like Fire

  11. I think that the power in the ukraine comes from nuclear sources, it’s the damn glow they put over half the globe when one of their (or should I say russia’s) reactors went bust that gives it away…
    Now you decide if that’s green or not.


  12. @Dan K

    With all due respect, I think you are also suffering from the LED=green prejudice.

    It appears from the photo that the builders created a cylinder, covered with LEDs that is on the order of 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide… maybe larger. (Judging by the guy standing at the base of the statue.)

    Now let’s crunch some numbers. Assuming T13/4 LEDs, and assuming they are mounted side-by-side, that’s about 315 LEDs in the vertical direction, 660 LEDs in circumference, or 200 thousand LEDs to cover the cylinder’s surface.

    At 1.9 volts (high brightness LEDs) and 15 ma current each, times 200k LEDs, you’re looking at 5700 watts to light that puppy up. I’d be very interested to know what the consumption rate was for the original gas burner that the LEDs replaced.

    OK, fine, they aren’t using T1-3/4’s. They’re probably using far fewer, but much larger and much more powerful high-brightness LEDs. In any event, I’ll bet you’re still looking at a crapload of electricty to light that thing up–anything but “green”– and ultimately, for what?

    The point of the gas fire is the “eternal flame.” This is not an illumination application. It is more of a “mood lighting” application, which the LED’s suck at. Yeah, they light up. They do not recreate the fluid, primal, mesmerizing effect of a dancing gas flame. They never will.

    This is where the “green” religious bias leaks in. LED=green, right? Wrong. Granted, LEDs on this cylinder will draw far less juice than an equivalent cylinder covered with, say, light bulbs, but this isn’t about an existing light-bulb application being retrofitted with LEDs.

    If you don’t want to burn gas, and you insist on being “green,” forget the LEDs entirely.

  13. Onion style satire, no wonder the “LEDS” really don’t look convincing. In that money does drive things, one could actually see something of this sort being put in place. Oxin; such a solution could use less energy than gas despite the boilerplate rant by pooky. Dank; except for the cities in the US near natural gas production, “towngas” was the fuel burned in vities having gas lighting AKA coalgas.

  14. bhdn, one goal for they ideology was to make one nation – “homo sovieticus” from countries in USSR. So imho it dosnt make big difirence, how it was called.
    By the way, when in Estonia they try to move one monument with graves from center of city to a beter place, Estonia got, I supose first, cyber-war or cyber-terorism if war sounds to loud, all they internet has been stuck for few days.

  15. I don’t know why everyone’s bitching about the leds being green or not green… they’re clearly red ;).

    Rather fitting since they’re in a portion of the former Soviet Republics.

  16. Mixing the old and the new can lead to interesting results. But I guess the cell phone companies were more focused on minimizing the overall cost. They could have thought about using multicolor LEDs to mimic sky’s color, otherwise.

  17. “this war monument sponsored by Verizon… it’s the network”

    I seriously think that’s tacky as hell and while it’s not my countrymen that the monument is honoring I would feel better if the flame was out as opposed to the statue being used to support some commercialized piece of hardware.

    and LEDs seriously? if anything NIXIE tube flames would be far my appropriate.

  18. @pookey

    I’m glad you went through all that trouble to do a pseudo-scientific analysis.

    In reality, if you had read the article, the entire display consumes 400 watts.

    Wanna know how much propane that gets you? With a LHV of 45.8 MJ/kg, 400 watts gets you about 0.009 grams of propane a second. Now, we have no idea how much the original torch burned, but I doubt it was under 0.009 grams/s.

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