I found an LCD flatscreen monitor on the sidewalk. Took it back to the lab, turned out the screen was pretty dark, especially on the bottom half, so I figured the backlight was broken. I opened it up and found this to be true. turns out one of the two outputs of the power inverter that fed the two backlights was broken. I had a set of CCFT lamps + inverter ($15--> http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bin/item/FL-122WH/search/SET_OF_2_CCFT_LAMPS_(WHITE)_W_INVERTER_.html)
lying around from a previous project (lighting a sound proof temperature controlled experimental box) so I decided to pop one in. Here's how I did it (it worked great).