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Single light bulbs that hold three LEDs — red, green and blue — are the secret behind a new category of holiday lights that offer up to 16 million color combinations.

Known as RGB lights, they can be dialed up or down in a variety of ways via a smartphone app. And because their color range is so varied, they can be kept up year-round and used for any number of holidays — Halloween, the Fourth of July, Easter, you name it.

Lumenplay offers the most colors by far at more than 16 million. The exotic lighting system doesn’t come cheap ($79.99 for a starter pack) and is available only in 10-foot strands. But you can string as many as 500 lights together on one controller, which comes with the starter pack.

GE also offers RGB lighting technology with its new iTwinkle light sets and pre-lit Christmas trees, while Texas-based decorating firm Christmas Decor is offering the lights as an option for holiday customers this year.

All the talk of RGB technology leads right into the next holiday lighting trend this year — “smart” lights, or lighting systems controlled by your smartphone.

Both the Lumenplay and iTwinkle systems are operated via apps available for Apple and Android phones. With just a swipe of your screen, you can dim or brighten outdoor lights, set them to music or choose new colors and patterns.

With iTwinkle, you can even record a greeting to play, like “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas,” spokeswoman Amanda Hayes says.

Most of these apps have a range of up to 150 feet.

Recycle for pets

The Animal Rescue League Wildlife Center in Verona is one of many shelters across the nation benefiting from America Recycles Day. Those shelters will share a donation of 5 cents for every aluminum pet food can recycled Nov. 15.

Cans for Pets is funded by the Alcoa Foundation and the Pennsylvania Resources Council and has collected more than 180,000 cans in the past two years.

Cans can be dropped off at the Verona center, the Animal Rescue League in the East End, the Cooper-Siegel Community Library in Fox Chapel, the Dog Stop shops in Banksville and the East End, the Pennsylvania Resources Council in the South Side and the Petco in the Waterfront, Homestead.

Details: 412-488-7490, ext. 105, or prc.org/petcan

Pigeon project

Two hundred years ago, the passenger pigeon was the most common bird in North America. By 1914, the last passenger pigeon died.

To mark the 100th year anniversary of the extinction, Project Passenger Pigeon Pittsburgh is putting on a variety of events. The “Passenger Pigeon Extinction Centenary Exhibit” is on display through November in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History entrance gallery. It includes five taxidermied passenger pigeons and a monitor with information about the birds.

On Nov. 21, the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania will present information on the lessons learned from the Passenger Pigeon’s extinction at 10 a.m. at the Hillman Library on the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland.

Details: passengerpigeonpittsburgh.org

— Staff and wire reports

Send Homework items to Features in care of Sue Jones, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, D.L. Clark Building, 503 Martindale St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212; fax 412-320-7966; or email [email protected].

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