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US To Extinguish (Most) Incandescent Bulb Sales By 2012 1106

Posted by timothy
from the arrogance-of-power-switch dept.
Engadget has noted a report in the New York Times that that the US has "passed a law barring stores from selling incandescent light bulbs after 2012. 'Course, the EU and Australia have already decided to ditch the inefficient devices in the not-too-distant future, but a new energy bill signed into law this week throws the US into the aforementioned group. Better grab a pack of the current bulbs while you still can — soon you'll be holding a sliver of history."
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US To Extinguish (Most) Incandescent Bulb Sales By 2012

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  • I've been using some compact flourescents for about a year now, and they're nice in some applications but it seems sort of stupid to cast off the old-fashioned light-bulb just yet...

    Specifically, I'm talking about lights that dim... CF bulbs do not dim. They are either all the way on or all the way off. Overcoming this would be a huge stride in getting them into every light-fixture everywhere...
  • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BVis (267028) on Monday December 24, 2007 @10:35AM (#21805324)
    There's more important things here than money. Less energy used is still less energy used.
  • Lead in CFL Bulbs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Velcroman98 (542642) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (89namorcleV)> on Monday December 24, 2007 @10:37AM (#21805348) Homepage
    Anybody study the effect of mercury contained in those CFL bulbs? I know many people that use CFLs, half seem to know about the lead, less than half of those properly pay to dispose of them properly.
  • Thats great... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Brian Lewis (1011579) on Monday December 24, 2007 @10:37AM (#21805356) Homepage
    But what does it mean for old cartoons?

    Will their ideas be extinguished as well?!
  • Re:NO thanks. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alaria Phrozen (975601) on Monday December 24, 2007 @10:38AM (#21805370)
    Just because you get a bad ASUS/ABIT/nVidia/etc. motherboard doesn't mean that all motherboards of that brand are defective. It just means you got a bad motherboard. Sometimes things arrive DOA. Oh, hey, that might apply to light bulbs too!
  • by crow (16139) on Monday December 24, 2007 @10:38AM (#21805372) Homepage Journal
    This is a case of legislation done right. Instead of banning specific technologies that are inefficient, or mandating specific technologies that are better, the law simply set efficiency standards. While this currently appears to force a shift from incandescents to fluorescents, it leaves the door open for any other technology that comes along, from high-efficiency incandescents to LEDs.
  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by penix1 (722987) on Monday December 24, 2007 @10:41AM (#21805396) Homepage
    Sure they will. They will do it the same way they do other products. Ever try to buy a blank reel-to-reel tape? How about a betamax blank tape? Heck, it's even getting hard to find blank cassette tapes these days. In short, they will make supply so low that demand will push them out of the market with way higher prices.

    Personally, I hate the CF lights. They ALWAYS give me big pounding headaches. Thank god I have my own office at work where I can turn off the fluorescent lights and turn on my circa 1940 lamp.
  • Too soon (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BlueParrot (965239) on Monday December 24, 2007 @10:44AM (#21805440)
    The law itself is sound but they should have made it 2020 with an intermediate period of indirect taxation on incadescent ones starting 2015. I fear this one is too strict and may very well backfire if a latter administration decides to overrule it.
  • Re:Nanny State (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Brian Lewis (1011579) on Monday December 24, 2007 @10:45AM (#21805460) Homepage
    Why does everyone thing Ron Paul can actually do half the stuff he's promised to do, if elected.

    Every 4 years, we hear "lower taxes" and all kinds of other garbage... He's no different from the rest. If nobody else has been able to said things in the past, what makes him more able to "abolish federal income tax".

    I really want to know, because as a voter, it matters to me. Has he outlined a specific plan and legislation he will propose if he is elected? If he did that, and it didn't seem too insane, I might vote for him, though I hardly think that legislation like that will ever make it into the books.
  • If you want dim light just use candles. That's what I do :P

    In all seriousness though, you're right that completely banning sale of incandescent bulbs is a bit extreme. Almost all my lights are CFLs or LEDs, but they can't replace everything. Not yet anyways.
  • Re:wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac.cEINSTEINom minus physicist> on Monday December 24, 2007 @10:55AM (#21805552) Journal
    I for one am glad to see legislation forcing energy conservation,

    You believe this is a legitimate prerogative of the federal government?

    That's really tragic.

    -jcr

  • by BVis (267028) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:00AM (#21805610)
    You're assuming that Joe Sixpack can understand the concept of "savings over time". All he sees is that he can buy a 4-pack of incandescents for the same price as one CFL. As far as he's concerned that makes the CFL more expensive RIGHT THEN, and that's all he cares about.

    Of COURSE CFLs are more efficient over time (both in terms of energy consumption and replacement cost). This isn't controversial at all, it's a plain fact. (Granted, the cost of disposal eats into those savings, but you're still ahead of the game in the long run.) It's also irrelevant to most people when they make a purchase. Without the force of a ban, those people will still continue to buy the cheaper incandescents.
  • mod parent up. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:02AM (#21805628)
    There is no need for such laws - people can "vote" with their wallets. Purchase alternative lighting if you feel the need, but don't assume you have any right to force others to do so. Ditto with the new mileage standards. Those concerned with fuel economy can, and do, purchase vehicles with 35+ MPG. Having an illegitimate national government (it's supposed to be a federal system!) interfere with free market choices never produces the desired results.
  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:03AM (#21805638) Homepage
    The purpose of government is to act for the good of society. Things like this are *precisely* what they should be doing.
  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustOK (667959) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:04AM (#21805646) Journal
    Yah, people in a free market VOTED for the ARM mortgages. That sure has worked out well, didn't it?
  • GE (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:12AM (#21805722) Homepage
    GE is supposed to release a new incandescent bulb in the next year or two which will have the same effeciency as those crappy CFL's. Has anyone yet done a study of the cost to produce and dispose of incandescent vs CFL? I would not be shocked to find what the common bulb gives up in use it gains back in using less resources.
  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BVis (267028) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:13AM (#21805740)
    That would be a valid argument if we had a free market economy. We don't. In a true free market, people would weigh the costs and benefits of each purchase both to themselves and to the society in general. Free markets require educated, thoughtful consumers. We don't have those. We have people who shop at Wal*Mart and think it's great that pickles only cost $3 instead of $3.50.

    If you don't like the laws being passed, write your congressman. Until then, they're doing the job we elected them to do. If the majority of voters don't like what an elected official does, they get voted out of office. If the majority of voters find these kinds of laws inappropriate or objectionable, they'll remove them from office.
  • Mod parent up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by snaildarter (1143695) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:25AM (#21805862)
    Free markets can break down in all kinds of ways, usually because there are many factors that can escape monetization. For example, if I make a widget, and the production of my widget secretly poisons the air (and lets assume that it's only a little poison, so that I'm not really hurting anyone, although in combination with my fellow widget producing competitors, we are collectively hurting people), there is no direct way for the market to handle it. Everyone will pay a price (poisoned lungs), yet I will reap only the benefits. The only fair solution to this is government regulation/action, maybe by artificially adjusting the market by requiring that I disclose said poisoning, and maybe then people wouldn't buy my widget. But even better, since the average human in the world is a moron, and is much more influenced by marketing and lobbyists, would be for the government to stop me from poisoning the air to begin with.

    I think that free markets are an excellent first choice in most cases. But when they fail, like, when people are too ignorant to buy expensive bulbs to save money and energy and air quality in the long run, it is the governments job to step in for the benefit of all of us.

    I respect and admire a strict libertarian position, but it just doesn't map well to reality. I think it is a worthy goal, but you can't let abstract principles cloud your good judgment.
  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Osty (16825) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:31AM (#21805910)

    Yah, people in a free market VOTED for the ARM mortgages. That sure has worked out well, didn't it?

    From the perspective of the market? Yes, it worked out exactly as designed. The market is correcting itself. It's unfortunate that so many people will lose their homes in the process, but that's how the free market works.

  • Re:wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:33AM (#21805940)

    The purpose of government is to act for the good of society.
    LOL

    The purpose of government is to maximise the personal wealth of those governing, at the expense of those governed.

     
  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BeanThere (28381) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:36AM (#21805966)
    From a libertarian standpoint this does appear to be a case of anti-freedom legislation - in theory, people should have a choice. On the other hand, since most power is coal-generated, there IS a cost (i.e. lower quality air, disruptions from climate change etc.) imposed on other innocent people when a person exercises their 'freedom' to choose inefficient technologies, for whatever reason - so it's not 100% a case of, well, everyone should have freedom to do what they want.
  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Osty (16825) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:41AM (#21806018)

    That would be a valid argument if we had a free market economy. We don't. In a true free market, people would weigh the costs and benefits of each purchase both to themselves and to the society in general. Free markets require educated, thoughtful consumers. We don't have those. We have people who shop at Wal*Mart and think it's great that pickles only cost $3 instead of $3.50

    It seems to me that the non-"educated, thoughtful consumers" in our free market have a different value system than you do. You look at that jar of Wal*Mart pickles and see lost jobs, so you buy the local jar instead for more money. The rest of the consumers act exactly as economics predicts -- they look at the price ($3 is less than $3.50), they look at the elasticity of the product (a pickle is a pickle, whether it's from China, Mexico, or California), and they act. In this case, economics dictates that people will tend to buy the $3 Wal*Mart pickle because it's the lowest price for a highly elastic good.

    If you don't like the laws being passed, write your congressman. Until then, they're doing the job we elected them to do. If the majority of voters don't like what an elected official does, they get voted out of office. If the majority of voters find these kinds of laws inappropriate or objectionable, they'll remove them from office.

    I would argue that this is where our lack of "educated, thougthful" citizens actually matters. The same people who are capable of operating optimally in a free market (because the free market was designed around true, rational human behavior) fall apart when dealing with politics (because politics revolves around idealized concepts of human nature that aren't in the least bit true). This is why you can have people voting in xenophobic candidates (stop illegal immigration, stop out-sourcing of jobs overseas, etc) who then turn right around and buy imported goods from the likes of Wal*Mart. Which is the correct behavior? Neither, because "correct" is not the right word. The "natural" behavior is the latter, because price will always be the biggest factor in any economics, to the point where most everything else just factors out. The former is a mix of gullibility and wishful thinking.

  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gambolt (1146363) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:41AM (#21806032)
    two words:

    Social Contract.

    A citizen of a government is someone who has surrendered a portion of their natural (god given) rights to state in exchange for protection of their life and liberty. This is protection from forign nations and nationals, protection from nature, and protection from our fellow man. In other words, you don't get to be selfish and act in ways that might deprive others of their safety and liberty.

    Federalism implies some powers are left to the states. One area that is not is interstate trade. This is not an implied power. It's right there in black and white. The federal government gets to regulate what goods for commercial resale are moved from one state to another. We are not living under the Articles of Confederation as some Libertarians seem to think. State and national governments are co-equal.
  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:46AM (#21806072)
    Yes, people made their own (bad) choices, and they are now reaping the consequences of those choices. Simple. Or should there be a nanny state that knows better how to run your life than you do that protects you from yourself?

    Well, I think its rather obvious that the population as a whole certainly does not know how to manage their own affairs. Environmental concerns are certainly a prerogative of the government. I don't give a shit about your silly notions of the individual's right to triumph over longevity of natural resources and desire to pollute endlessly.
  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gambolt (1146363) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:49AM (#21806112)
    From the perspective of social contract theory, government exists to protect citizens from sociopathic greedheads.
  • by foreverdisillusioned (763799) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:54AM (#21806178) Journal
    Try that and you'll get the GOP all up your ass about increasing the tax burden on the working class.

    Not that it ever stopped them before, but that would be pretty piss-poor logic. The Democratic/sane person response would be: "No, the working class will SAVE MONEY by using compact fluorescents. We're just making the savings a little more obvious and up-front." Yeah, the GOP prides itself on being anti-tax, but I don't really understand how can BANNING something be easier than taxing it. Surely there are a lot more people (corporate and citizen) who're much more likely to be pissed off by a ban than a tax.

    Anyway, I thought neither party cared about the working class anymore...? Nowadays it's all about pandering to the middle class.
  • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wrf3 (314267) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:54AM (#21806184) Homepage
    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)

  • Mine last longer. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FatSean (18753) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:57AM (#21806222) Homepage Journal
    I have a few Sylvania bulbs (towards the more expensive side of the spectrum) that have been going since 2002, easily 8 to 10 hours a day.

    Check your wiring, it may be crap.

  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bombula (670389) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:59AM (#21806248)
    While You're right, of course, to point out that incandescent bulbs are only a small part of the problem, but the fact that this article has been categorized as 'greenwashing' is very revealing. The prevailing attitude in our country is that anything is OK as long as you're willing to pay for it, and that market forces rather than prudence, foresight and common sense should be what determine our choices both as consumers and as a nation in terms of our policy. While there is obviously something to be said for allowing people the 'freedom' to decide for themselves how wasteful they want to be, the inconvenient truth is that the attitude that 'I can do whatever I feel like as long as I can afford it' is what is destroying the planet.

    The incandescent versus CFL issue probably isn't the best example. While it's true that incandescent bulbs are inefficient, most CFL's still contain mercury and other toxins that are harmful to the environment both during production and after consumption. And while most incandescent bulbs are wasteful in terms of heat, that energy is not actually wasted all the time. In my house in the winter, any heat the bulbs put out is heat the furnace doesn't have to put out. It's not a perfectly even exchange, since the furnace runs on gas, but it's not entirely one-sided.

    Also, most incandescent bulbs may not last as long as most CFLs, but that is almost certainly a product of planned obsolescence and not a genuine technological limitation. Everyone has an incandescent bulb in the house that, for whatever reason, never burns out. There are incandescent bulbs still working that were made in the Edison era a century ago. It IS possible to make an incandescent bulb that will never burn out. But then nobody would ever buy more bulbs, would they? Not much profit in making good bulbs then, and so Phillips and GE et al make bulbs that last just long enough so that you can't quite remember when you last replaced them - typically around 6 months.

    And lastly, CFLs are not necessarily the best alternative technology option we have. As I understand it, LED bulbs are likely to be the best choice. I haven't seen them yet myself, but I hear they're OK and improving, and of course they are very efficient and last more or less forever.

  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BVis (267028) on Monday December 24, 2007 @12:00PM (#21806268)
    You're not denying people the chance to buy a house, you're denying them the chance to buy a house they can't afford. With all these ARMs floating around, home prices got inflated because people were capable of buying houses they couldn't really afford, and that drove demand up.

    I could have gotten one of those ARMs when we bought back in 2002. I knew better. I'm one of those people who are pissed that everyone who got one of those who suddenly find themselves unable to make a payment they agreed to is getting bailed out. But the fact remains, if the mortgage brokers weren't able to offer them, then we would not have the situation we have now. We have a smaller house than what we might have been able to get with an ARM, but we have a fixed 30 year rate at 5.75. We're not losing our house (small though it may be) anytime soon.
  • They seem to be more sensitive to bad power and vibration. I'd like to see some statistics on CFL lifetimes under more typical conditions.
  • by edunbar93 (141167) on Monday December 24, 2007 @12:16PM (#21806482)
    Why are people clinging so strongly to incandescent light bulbs? GE et al have been fooling you for *years* by making you believe that you were buying *light* bulbs. They're actually *heat* bulbs that happen to produce light as a waste product. Now, while this was a slight improvement over candles back in 1887 (inasmuch as they started fewer fires), it's not exactly something you want in the summertime when it's 35 C, is it? But hey, I guess that's what air conditioning is for. You just use more power to take away the heat from the things that use power in your house.
  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Monday December 24, 2007 @12:22PM (#21806548)
    I would think that making lending organizations tell borrowers the actual interest rate they are going to pay, how high that interest rate can go -- and that it is variable, not inflating appraisals, and that there is no escrow on taxes or insurance would be a good thing. You know - actually being honest with the consumer.

    I would think that is a good thing and not leftist dogma. You disagree? You think it is ok for companies to deceive borrowers about what their monthly payment will be? It seems to me that for those that truly can't afford that variable rate loan, you not only have saved them the grief that goes along with losing a home, but you probably also kept them from declaring bankruptcy, kept them from losing their savings as a down payment they would never recover, etc.

    All in all it seems that not letting some of these people into loans that they will default on and all the negative consequences that follow, when they have no hope of affording a house, is actually doing them a favor.

    It may not seem like it to you, but if people really cannot afford a home loan, then preventing predatory and deceitful tactics to rob them of their savings they use as a down payment (if they even have savings to use as a down payment) is actually a good thing.
  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 24, 2007 @12:25PM (#21806592)

    Yes, people made their own (bad) choices, and they are now reaping the consequences of those choices. Simple. Or should there be a nanny state that knows better how to run your life than you do that protects you from yourself?
    If those bad choices only affected the people that made them, you'd have a very good point. But millions of people who did not make those bad decisions are also being affected by their consequences. You are quite right that the purpose of the state is not to protect people from themselves. It is to protect people from each other.

    Your right to swing your fist stops before it hits my face. Your right to make stupid decisions stops before those stupid decisions cost me money. And since history shows time and time again that it is highly unlikely that people will ever do sensible things of their own free will, I most certainly do want the state to step in and bully them into behaving sensibly. If they want to whine about "nannying", let them... maybe if they weren't so childish and selfish they wouldn't need nannying.

    Damn, I must need caffeine. You can tell by the way I'm italicising so many words.
  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmack (197796) <{ten.erifrenni} {ta} {kcamg}> on Monday December 24, 2007 @12:26PM (#21806596) Homepage Journal
    Or they have friends who lived in socialist countries. Personally I didn't grow up with much money but after talking with a lot of people from Rissia and Cuba I'm glad I live in a capitalist society.

    The problem with socialism is that it assumes (contrary to 5 000 years of human history) that people are naturally good natured and hard working. Any communist system depends on everyone working for the greater good since the lazy guy gets just as much as the harder working. The result is an inefficient system where most of the population is equally poor and nobody is motivated to do better without getting something in return.

    Capitalism at least takes advantage of human nature to make a more efficient (not perfect) system. Throw in just enough of a safety net to keep people from starving when their down and a few rules to keep people from exploiting each other and it's a rather good system.

  • Re:wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cliffski (65094) on Monday December 24, 2007 @12:29PM (#21806642) Homepage
    "As I understand it, LED bulbs are likely to be the best choice. I haven't seen them yet myself, but I hear they're OK and improving"

    there is always a better technology just around the corner and those who oppose energy efficiency often suggest we wait for it. They never come, and when they look close, they always bump us to yet another further-off tech. CFLs work now, you can buy them now, everywhere.
  • by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377.gmail@com> on Monday December 24, 2007 @12:39PM (#21806766) Homepage
    Yep. Those dastardly liberals are FORCING god-fearing Americans like ourselves down a path towards hippydom. It's a travesty I tell ya.

    Get over yourself. No, current CFL's don't work that well in extreme cold. Normal CFL bulbs do take longer to warm up, and you can get sealed CFL's designed for outdoor use. Ditto for dimmer switches. I've only seen the low-wattage dimmable bulbs at Home depot, but they do exist.

    Traffic lights? Dude, new traffic lights have been using LED's almost exclusively for a long time now. LED's are ideal for that application, since you're not throwing a beam of light, just illuminating something. The fact that LED's last longer and use less electricity are just added bonuses.

    The incandescent light bulb hasn't changed all that much since the tungsten filament came along almost 100 years ago. Incandescent lights burn 80-90% of their energy to make heat, not to throw light. That's just a huge fucking waste. The old bulbs should go away, just like cars without catalytic converters, and the need for leaded gas. Technology moves forward.
  • I agree with the comments on light color. We've used some of the CF's around our house and removed them for the most part as the light is cold and makes everyone look ill.

    Oh, BS. I bought a sunlamp for my wife and was immediately struck by the cold, ugly light coming out of it. And then one day I was walking into the room where we'd put it and was noticing how awful it looked - until I realized that the light was turned off and it was sunlight streaming in. Yeah, that "ugly, artificial" light was identical to natural sunlight. It just looked odd because it was a fluorescent lamp and I expected it to look odd. That "warm, yellow" color? In blackbody terms, that's really a "cold, yellow color" when compared to sunlight. You think it looks warm because we associate "red" with "hot", but that's just not relevant here.

    My buddy in the local Fire Dept. hazmat squad told me that my house should have been evacuated and a hazmat clean-up crew sent in after I dropped a CF bulb and broke it inside the house...

    Pick smarter friends. The current crop seem to be idiots [snopes.com].

  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday December 24, 2007 @12:55PM (#21806928) Homepage Journal

    need to use light bulbs outside, since fluorescents don't tolerate cold well.

    It was 5F this morning and the lights in my garage sure came on quickly and brightly enough. Hint: don't buy the cheapest bulbs you can find and put them outside.

    need a light that turns on and off frequently (like traffic lights), cause that uses a lot MORE energy in a fluorescent

    Breakeven for a fluorescent lamp is about 23 seconds [kwc.org]. After that, it's all profit.

  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by budgenator (254554) on Monday December 24, 2007 @12:59PM (#21806978) Journal
    State and national governments are co-equal
    I think somebody forgot to let the Feds know about that.
  • by Jaime2 (824950) on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:00PM (#21806998)
    That's only because the idiot politicians that developed this bill also stopped the movement to nuclear power 30 years ago. Had they not stopped back then, no mercury would go into powering an incandescent bulb. Fix that problem and CFLs look bad again from a mercury perspective.
  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nos. (179609) <andrew@nospaM.thekerrs.ca> on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:15PM (#21807178) Homepage

    Got a source for all your "facts"?

    You talk about the toxic chemicals in CFLs. I assume you mean mercury vapour. You do know that they can be recycled right? And about the whold Vitamin D thing... incandescent lighting is not a good source of ultraviolet light which is what your body needs to product vitamin D. As far as the photography thing... I haven't noticed. I'm not a professional photographer, I'm happy with my point and shoot type camera. It works fine for me, and I don't notice a difference in colours between different lights. I haven't seen any studies on CFLs leading to depression, mind giving some reliable sources?

  • Re:wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ihaque (1074767) on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:32PM (#21807370) Homepage

    FACT: Fluorescent bulbs lead to poorer health in humans because of a lack of vitamin D production. In addition to hurting humans, this also makes them wholly unacceptable for use in animal cages because many animals (particularly reptiles) really need this....

    I really hope your incandescent bulbs aren't causing your body to produce a lot of vitamin D, because that "biochemical reaction" is triggered by UVB radiation [wikipedia.org]. Incandescent lights won't produce much of that unless they're running really hot (like halogens) - and those need to have a UV blocker on them to keep them from giving you sunburns.

    FACT: Fluorescent bulbs contain toxic chemicals that are far worse for the environment than all the belching coal smoke from power generation.

    This is a common canard from the anti-CFL crowd that has repeatedly been shown to be false. Calculation demonstrates [energyrace.com] that even if no CFLs are recycled, you still drop less mercury into the environment, from the reduced amount of mercury put into the air by burning coal:

    FACT: The people who are really pushing CFLs are not the environmentalists (except a few sheep). The people who are really pushing it are the power companies because after years of mismanaging the power grids and failing to upgrade them to accommodate growing energy needs, they have run themselves into a brick wall.

    Oh [sierraclub.org] really [greenpeace.org]? That really needs some evidence before we can take it as a "FACT".
  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BVis (267028) on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:49PM (#21807572)

    I think I'm missing something. Why would it be better for someone to buy the $3.50 pickles instead? That sounds like a reasonable decision to me.
    Because the store has cut so many corners to save that 50 cents that it does 75 cents worth of damage to the economy. Someone might have lost their job because the store demanded a price that was below the manufacturer's cost, so in order to cut costs, they laid people off and made the rest work harder. This decreases spending power, which hurts the economy in general. (Not to mention the costs to support that person who doesn't have a job anymore.) Spend the goddam 50 cents.

    So if you're OK with people, en masse, electing (or not) the representatives that will allow, or restrict, their ability to purchase the lightbulbs of their choice, then why don't you trust people, individually, to just simply purchase the lightbulbs of their choice?
    Because they'll buy the cheaper one, regardless of anything else. I'd like to think that people elect politicians on more than just what lightbulbs they're able to buy. However, if they don't like the fact that their rep took away their choice to buy the incandescent bulbs, they can elect someone who will work to give it back.

    This article is a perfect example: price of energy goes up, people will buy things that use less energy, such as CFLs instead of incandescent lightbulbs.
    No, they won't. They'll buy whatever is cheapest. People don't think. They make snap judgments without thinking things through. They make bad choices, even when they profess to be against the problems that choice will make. $3 gas only hurt SUV sales, it didn't keep people from buying them.
  • Re:wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by raju1kabir (251972) on Monday December 24, 2007 @02:12PM (#21807852) Homepage

    Capitalism at least takes advantage of human nature to make a more efficient (not perfect) system. Throw in just enough of a safety net to keep people from starving when their down and a few rules to keep people from exploiting each other and it's a rather good system.

    It isn't really so much of a system as an eventuality. Unless you work really hard to avoid it, you'll end up with capitalism.

    The question, therefore, is how to best create a system that deals with capitalism's considerable shortcomings (externalities, increasing wealth disparities, etc.) without excessively stifling its creative force.

  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Monday December 24, 2007 @02:46PM (#21808160)
    The CFLs can last as long as claimed and it will still benefit Wal-Mart. If the cost and lifetime are both 6x longer, then Wal-Mart makes the same money, but uses 6x less shelf space, 6x less shipping costs, 6x less shuffling shit around for the same markup.

    I'm still waiting for them to start vacuum-packing paper towels :)
  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rkanodia (211354) on Monday December 24, 2007 @03:05PM (#21808338)
    Fuck Countrywide, and fuck the losers who are upset that they can't continue to stay in that $600,000 house on a $900/mo payment.

    No kidding. When I was a kid, I used to think that losing your house was the just about the worst possible thing that could happen to a person, and I probably would have been very supportive of a mortgage bailout. But now, I don't get what all the fuss is about. "Oh no, those PEOPLE are going to LOSE their HOUSES!" Who gives a shit? They couldn't afford those houses in the first place. That's what happens when you try to buy things you can't afford. "But it's their HOUSE!" Well, they can buy a cheaper house that they can afford, or, god forbid, RENT a house. Or even rent (the horror, the horror!) an apartment. I can't afford to buy a house either - but instead of throwing a hissyfit and demanding that the public foot the bill for an expensive house for me, I rent one that is within my means. What is so tragic about that?

    To put it another way, if there were millions of people who had taken out ridiculous loans to buy McLarens and Lamborghinis, and then came crying to the public that their cars were being repossessed, and could they please have some of your tax money to pay off their car loans, the response would be a resounding, "Fuck off and die." Why is it different if they spent the money on a house? The proposals for a mortgage bailout have nothing to do with supporting the needy, but rather, they are about appeasing the greedy. In fact, I have a sort of Modest Proposal to prove it: every person who asks for a bailout should instead offered a free house of their own, as long as they must agree to live in it for at least five years. Sure, the houses are in the projects - but we know you aren't a bunch of materialistic, keeping-up-with-the-Jonses types anyway, so it shouldn't be a problem.
  • by sjbe (173966) on Monday December 24, 2007 @03:17PM (#21808458)

    If I had a "chance" at owning a house, I'd be paying 1200$ a month for a mortgage and taxes. How is that better? I'd rather have the extra 700$ a month to myself so I can invest it.


    When owning is "better" it's better because you own an asset (the house) which can appreciate in value. A house is an investment, not much different from owning stock in a company or holding a government bond and a house is usually the biggest investment most people make. A house can, and historically usually does, appreciate in value over time by a few percent per year. At least in the US (not so sure about other countries) owning a house has benefits from a taxation standpoint. You can get a significant "return" on your investment through reduced taxes. Generally speaking, owning is better than renting in the long term (greater than 10 years) for most people.

    In your case if there really is a $700 difference, renting is only better if you can get a better return on your investment through other investment vehicles (stocks, etc) than you would through the appreciation of the value of the house and any tax offsets. You might be absolutely right for your particular circumstances. Owning is not always better than renting just like renting is not always better than owning. Just depends on the particulars of the situation and the investment alternatives available to you.
  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Monday December 24, 2007 @05:02PM (#21809322)

    And why, exactly, should I believe in social contract theory?
    Because it's the system that works the best. If you want to maximize the well-being of all the people of a society, some level of social responsibility is required. Libertarian-style society *encourages* treating others as means to an end, and *that* invariably leads to the stronger subjugating the less-powered. When that's the case, the powerful see to it that the ranks of the powerless are as full as possible, and without any laws except those relating *only* to the initiation of direct physical force (the primary basis of Libertarianism), there's nothing to stop that from happening. It ends up a tug of war where the stronger side gets even stronger but fewer in numbers, while the weaker side gets more numerous yet ever weaker.

    Second, what happens when the government is making it possible for the "sociopathic greedheads" to do this?
    What's ironic in your question is that in a "free market", there's absolutely *no* mechanism to protect against what you are talking about. At least a democratic society has a workable, if imperfect, mechanism. The problem, in America, is that too many people think this mechanism is immoral, even if it actually fixes things. The media is largely to blame for this, because *their* interests are threatened by such a mechanism, so they suppress anything that might support that mechanism, which has culminated after two decades (since Reagan, who really opened these floodgates), in a President who doesn't even *believe* in using that mechanism to help the people. Can it be any surprise, for example, that a government that doesn't believe the government can help people failed so miserably provide any help in New Orleans?
  • Re:wow (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 24, 2007 @08:12PM (#21810614)
    The issue of Hg content in CFLs is pretty well known.

    So what -- that's not to say it's being addressed. Since the unions have been beaten down in corporate Amerika, people are back to working fifty and sixty hours a week. They aren't going to store CFLs and such safely at home, then make a two hour weekend trip to a recycling place to wait in line for some minimum wage kid to paw through their stuff for contraband and probably be charged for hazardous waste disposal. Make the charge up front, then guarantee it can be conveniently recovered at disposal time.

    And make some goddamned rules and stick to them. I'm sick of being jerked around every timer some nanny finds another part of the sky falling.

    First I was told I shouldn't dispose of my cat litter in the garbage because it was hazardous waste. Then they said don't flush it because cat pee has parasites that hurt the fishies. What the hell should should I do -- eat it for breakfast? Then they decided, after years of telling us to flush expired meds, that this would hurt the fishies, too, so now we're supposed to take them to police stations for "anonymous" disposal. But they also noted that you can't get rid of meth, pot or other illegal drugs this way. How "anonymous" is that? So -- feed them to the fishies? -- use them up? -- spike the punch?

    Now, after years of letting diesel trucks off on pollution laws, because corporate Amerika depends on them, I'm told that my fireplace is a public health hazard. They want me to not use it -- on still, cold nights, for chrissakes -- which is just the time when I _want_ to use it.

    Fuck all that shit.

  • Re:mod parent up. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Osty (16825) on Tuesday December 25, 2007 @12:08AM (#21812092)

    These people were screwed over by real estate snake oil salespeople.

    And all the people who lost their shirts in the DotCom bubble burst were screwed over by Wall Street snake oil salespeople?

    The housing bubble is just another manifestation of the same problem as the DotCom bubble -- uneducated people trying to make a buck on the "hot new thing", and then crying when the market cycles (as markets ALWAYS do). Day traders were the hardest-hit in the DotCom bubble (properly managed mutual funds weren't really affected, and all of the IPO millionaires never had the money to begin with), but in some respects they caused it as well, by being much more reactionary to market swings than a seasoned professional. In the same vein, house flippers and overnight real estate agents caused the exact same problem in the housing market.

    We've since returned to some state of normalcy in tech stocks (Bubble 2.0 is going at a much more maintainable pace), and we will return to normalcy in the housing market as well in a few years (maybe as much as a decade). Some people will have made fortunes through timing and proper information. Others will have lost everything, but so it goes. The moral of the story? By the time something has become the "hot new thing" sweeping the country, it's too late for you to jump in. WTF were people thinking buying $200K houses for $600K? Can't you tell that the house is horribly overvalued? I got a great deal on my own home back in 2003 (bought it for ~$40K under list, with a proper mortgage), and even it has at least doubled in value on paper since them. The only thing that does for me is screw my tax payments, but when this bubble has finally popped I'll be in a good position and my taxes will drop drastically.

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