Death of the Light Bulb, Protectionism, Immigration

LED Lighting Guide: The Death of the Light Bulb

The incandescent lamp should be called the “heat bulb” not light bulb, since it is capable of a maximum 10% efficiency, meaning 90% of the energy used goes to waste heat. So ironic that this horribly wasteful piece of antiquated technology was once the archetypal symbol for a “good idea.”

CFLs contain mercury, and don’t yet match the light quality or CRI of incandescents. LEDs solve those problems, but remain expensive. Which is why the US has established 2014 as the deadline for the old bulbs to be phased out. Just in time for LEDs to become cost-effective. In the meantime, the dirt cheap incandescents have always failed to account for their true social and environmental costs. Which means we all have been paying a hidden tax to use them, in the form of CO2, particulates, and mercury emitted by the additional coal plants we’ve run. Yet listen to the most asinine GOP dinosaur Rep. Joe Barton try to justify “saving” the glass and tungsten environment-killers. Typical Republican waffle: if you don’t see a cost, it doesn’t exist.

Time: China’s People Rising

We seem to be able to get bipartisan agreement on only a few things, and one of them is protectionist legislation against China. But protectionism can only make the US less competitive and hasten the day China eventually cleans our clock decisively at the top of the value chain–not just in manufacturing. The right is so out of touch with this issue, it boggles the mind. America has hard work to do. We must strategically and intellectually compete with China or surely we will become a second-rate nation.

Chinese kids often study 10-12 hours a day, something mocked and rejected when anyone suggests it in the USA. Because Chinese parents only have one child, there’s a lot of pressure for success. I’m not saying its necessarily healthy, but it’s a fact of life. And they’re not just doing academics, but music, dance, extracurriculars. In other words, they’re becoming well rounded people.

When expectations are rising (and they are in China) the people can smell it. And the competitive drives kick in and transform society. They work harder because they can sense victory. Americans spend all their time worrying about making life easier and improving their leisure time. There’s nothing wrong with that when you are on top, but we’re not anymore. Our kids are not being given the discipline and understanding of what it will take to wim. We no longer work as hard as people in the developing world. Though American productivity is still among the highest in the world, we’re starting to lose our edge. Our incentives and priorities have not kept pace with a changing world. Or we wouldn’t need to be thinking about protectionism.

Clearly China has huge issues to overcome. Like pollution, overcrowding, growing inequality, reliance on coal. But they see the big picture and know where they’re going. They not only have the world’s fastest trains, but are quickly building out the largest rail network, and they know how important that is. Even as they continue to be the largest coal consumer, they will still kill the US in green energy if we don’t engage. We don’t have anywhere near forever to get this right. It sometimes feels as if we’re not even trying–but rather we’ve been sleepwalking into the 21st century.

The Nation: Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite

*ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS* As if there was an option for these workers to come here legally. As anyone who’s been through the US immigration labyrinth knows, *THERE ISN’T.* And the GOP wants to keep it that way, all the while benefiting from the taxpayer subsidy provided to the undocumented workers they hire. Hypocrisy, be it sex or immigration–is an inseparable element of the right’s DNA.

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Comments (75 comments)

TPO / October 8th, 2010, 6:57 pm / #1

"Biblically…we should let the people have the people have the ability to choose what kind of light they wish?"

Uh….not when that choice has a negative affect on other people.

BlackSun / October 8th, 2010, 7:08 pm / #2

Cracked me up to hear him say that. Only a Republican… You know I'd have no problem with them selling bulbs and giving people a choice if the true costs of power were passed on to consumers. Since power is a regulated utility and prices are kept low to make it affordable for all, then such questions must be decided by regulation. It's amazing to me when "free-market" proponents fail (or refuse) to understand the results of a subsidy such as we provide to water and energy: People will obviously waste what they don't fully pay for.

exchangerates / December 1st, 2010, 6:40 pm / #3

Excellent shot Karri. I worked on an idea for this impossible challenge #2, but was not happy with the shots. Well done, and good luck in the challenge! Cheers, S.

nick h / February 21st, 2011, 8:29 pm / #4

What gives the government the right to dictate what type of light bulbs we should have, or for that matter how we choose to live our lives? I am not defending the hypocrisy of conservative Republicans like Joe Barton, who have no problem with statism when it involves foreign policy, the so-called war on drugs, and sexual matters. However, liberals, who support sexual freedom, ending the war on drugs, and stopping our incessant military involvement overseas, have no problem with coercion when it comes to their agenda, such as environmental matters and social engineering. Both Left and Right are for the most part statists; both conservatives and liberals just love forcing their will down our throats.. Governments are force, not reason. The less of it the better. Or, as Jefferson said, the government that governs best, governs least.

Michael / March 14th, 2011, 8:28 am / #5

Republicans……. the group with their heads buried so far up their anuses that no light gets in ….. no matter what kind of bulb they use.

BlackSun / March 27th, 2011, 5:02 pm / #6

nick h, as I have repeatedly said, there would be no need for government intervention in matters of the environment if corporations and consumers paid the full costs of products and energy produced and consumed. Much of what environmental regulation is intended to addressed would be handled automatically by a free market so long as product were required to pass along their entire externalized costs. This is especially true when it comes to energy and resources.

See "Externalities" and "Pigovian Taxes."

As for "less government?

"Trying to protect "individual liberties" by shrinking the size of government turns society over to private predators who destroy not only liberty, but exploit the commons for their profit. The best way to ensure freedom is a balance of power between state and private interests. Humans are more alike than different and we should help one another. We should put aside narrow divisions of race, religion, tradition and culture to adopt a universal standard for human rights and morality. We should work together to end war, preserve the ecosystem and establish an era of sustainable global peace and prosperity."

nannie / May 30th, 2011, 7:10 am / #7

this site has the potential for being very useful. You have the right take on the "political parties agenda" , but when you generalize with "republicans" or 'Democrats" blah blah blah, you turn off both sides. There are very good PEOPLE in both Parties and using the Party label leads me to reject your position because it doesn't apply to MY person who happens to be in that party. I think a more productive approach would be to identify an issue with your own evidence -thoughts- and rational and then state in fact, not opinion how a particular D or R is supporting or undermining the result that you believe would be best for the world- Remember the God Given Freedom of choice and The God given consequences of bad choices, And promoting the God given admonition to consider your fellow man as yourself, will go a long way to improve the world for all. I don't know how old you are , but I have been around over 60 years and the climate fluctuations of today are nothing new and I am sure will be repeated in the future as they have been in the past. The rivers in my state are 10 times cleaner than they were in the past. the amount of salt used on the roads is far less than in the past , Our air is much cleaner. That said, there is much that needs to be done in the family and "church" and society to improve how some exercise their God given stewardship. Even if you don't believe in God, you can live the principles that I see as coming from HIM. they are good principles weather we recognize the same source or not. I wil book mark your page and return in the future . God Bless and Happy posting

BlackSun / May 30th, 2011, 11:30 am / #8

Hi Nannie, well age is irrelevant, but I was born in 1964 if that helps. As for political parties, again irrelevant. It's what you believe and how you vote. And it seems the right specifically more than the left is subject to groupthink.

There are three things you said which need correcting. First, the climate. You are mistaken that we are seeing normal fluctuations. The CO2 in the atmosphere has not been this high in millions of years. The reason why people are arguing about this is because the implications are too terrible for most to accept, and doing something about it would take a complete re-evaluation of our energy systems. It would also involve the loss of a lot of money for a lot of very rich and powerful people. So just like with DDT or cigarettes, they deny and delay as long as possible.

Second, our rivers may be cleaner than they have ever been, but we have simply exported our manufacturing to China which is polluting their rivers and killing their people instead. Out of sight is not out of mind. We need global sustainability, and the only way that will happen is if the people demand it. And we have to be willing to go up against the vested interests who profit from the filthy status quo.

Third, as for God's stewardship, don't you think that involves precisely taking care of the planet he loaned us to live on? It's not even the planet we should be concerned about, it's each other. The Earth will be fine and will be here for billions more years. It's our own ability to live and have a civilization which is under threat.

Unfortunately this does break down by party affiliation. The GOP is generally hostile to human survival. They've gotten millions of middle class Americans to vote against their own self-interest in the name of "freedom" and "small government." But what this does is leave the large corporations unchecked and the rights of workers and the environment unprotected.

Democrats in general are pro-worker, pro-environment.

AmenASHandFree / June 23rd, 2011, 12:08 am / #9

With all the info I have researched on the new bulbs, it all says what I have always felt when I am near them. That they are very unhealthy and cause headaches due to the speed of the flicker. I have never done well with these florescent bulbs…

AmenASHandFree / June 27th, 2011, 10:46 pm / #10

Got it. Looking fwd to the LED's then. But (wo)man! They tend to be so lite blueish. Incandescents yellowish. Making them the worst in figuring out colors. Thks…

AmenASHandF / June 27th, 2011, 10:58 pm / #11

I just remembered when I bought a floor lamp that dimmed it didn't dim with those kind of bulbs and that's when I learned those bulbs just had one thing about them that made them bad replacements to the incandescents. Thks again for the details…

Valhar2000 / August 24th, 2011, 9:13 am / #12

The ones I use work just fine. I don't bother with dimmers, however. The dimmer fad never caught on in my neck of the woods.

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Gerald Sanderson / October 18th, 2013, 7:57 pm / #18

I live in Minnesota and these heat bulbs ( incandescent) feel pretty good in the winter. My house is 100% electric and 100% subscribed to wind source energy so my heat bulbs are not generating too much co2. The LEDs just don't give you that feel good infra red. I do use LED lamps on outside fixtures, where they can burn cold in the cold air.

Lisa / November 10th, 2013, 1:26 pm / #19

I use LEDs a lot since a couple of months and found that they are more durable and deliver better results. They are a quite good improvement.

Autism Caregiver / December 19th, 2013, 9:49 pm / #20

Started using it. Looking fwd towards LED's then. But (wo)man! They tend to be so en aning blueish. Incandescent yellowish or golden-tinged. Making these individuals the actual most detrimental throughout determining colorings. Thanks…

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My spouse and i have a home in Minnesota along with most of these warm lights ( incandescent) feel very good in the wintertime. The house will be 100% electrical along with 100% bought in order to blowing wind supplier vitality therefore my personal warm lights are certainly not creating an excessive amount of as well as. Your LEDs simply don't provide you with which feel good infra red. I do utilize LED table lamps about exterior fixtures, where they will shed chilly in the chilly atmosphere.

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I couldn't agree more…

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