Remember when the CFL was presented as the Future of Lightbulbs? We’d all be thrilled to replace our archaic incandescents with high-tech CFLs. Just to hasten us along in the proper direction, the old bulbs were banned, lest people go all squirrelly and anti-social and prefer them to CFLs. Then came LED bulbs, which were A) better, and B) didn’t require opening every window in the house and wearing gas masks if you dropped one. Well:
GE just announced that it no longer make or sell compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) lightbulbs in the US. The company will wind down the manufacturing of CFL bulbs by the end of 2016, and it will begin to shift its focus on making the newest and most energy-efficient lightbulbs, LEDs.
Between destroying the incandescent lightbulb, championing its stillborn hazardous replacement, bringing you the current incarnation of NBC and MSNBC, ushering Obama into the White House and sponsoring Vox.com, GE’s really spent the last decade covering itself in corporatist glory. Take a bow, fellas.
Posted at by Ed Driscoll on Feb 04, 2016 at 7:40 am Link
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jan 12, 2016 at 10:21 pm Link
I HAVE RAISED A SWEET, THOUGHTFUL, ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS MONSTER—AND SOON I WILL BE FREE: Glenn already linked to the jaw-dropping article titled “Bidding My College-Bound Son Good Riddance,” written by a veteran Bay Area journalist/environmentalist activist last night, but it’s worth another look for a variety of reasons.
Crankery, in short, became respectable. In 1972, Sir John Maddox, editor of the British journal Nature, noted that though it had once been usual to see maniacs wearing sandwich boards that proclaimed the imminent end of the Earth, they had been replaced by a growing number of frenzied activists and politicized scientists making precisely the same claim.
If they’d intimated that Mastercard can be used to placate your humorless little eco-scold, no one would have minded much. But no: the child is making his father a better man. It’s nice to see that Dad exists in a state of such unearthly perfection that the only means of betterment consist of abjuring incandescent lighting for pig-tailed CFLs, right? Alas: dad is a scoff-law who lets the tap run, uses doubleplus ungood bulbs, and doesn’t correct the clerk when the food is put in a cornstarch bag, perhaps because he’s thinking about his job, the cutbacks and layoffs, the tiresome daily scrum of adult life. He works hard, but of course he could work harder – he has a part-time job so he can stay at home with his son. Mom’s full-time. He downshifted so someone would always be there when Ethan came home from school. This makes him an okay man, I guess.
But he could be better. He could buy a florescent bulb. On credit.
If I had a Mastercard, I’d print this ad out frame by frame and sent it along with my shredded card.
Afterwards, Lileks embedded a frame from the film version of 1984, in which early on in the movie, a nine-year old uniformed “Youth League” member whose father works alongside Winston in the Ministry of Truth blurts out to Winston, “You’re a thought criminal!” Later in the book, after his sister turns in dad for being a thought criminal, he and Winston sit in the white porcelain abattoir-like Ministry of Love awaiting their fates. As dad ponders how many years in a prison camp he faces, he’s proud that he raised that he raised such a good little citizen of Oceania!
‘It was my little daughter,’ said Parsons with a sort of doleful pride. ‘She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day. Pretty smart for a nipper of seven, eh? I don’t bear her any grudge for it. In fact I’m proud of her. It shows I brought her up in the right spirit, anyway.’
How many parents allow their kids to hector them over environmentalist minutia without reminding them who is in charge of the family? Even if you do, how do you raise a kid knowing that they’ll be sent off to school where they’ll hear endless variations of Al Gore-style eco-crankery from their teachers? And assuming you don’t personally buy into the corporatist mantra that “we only have [fill in number of years] to save the planet” — or eco-doomsday is sure to follow — how does a parent counteract such programming?
Posted at by Ed Driscoll on Sep 13, 2015 at 4:07 pm Link
On June 30, one day after the Supreme Court struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of mercury emissions from power plants, President Obama committed the United States to the goal of generating 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. This would nearly triple the amount of wind- and solar-generated electricity on the national grid.
The EPA ran afoul of the law by failing to conduct a cost-benefit analysis before it acted to reduce mercury emissions from coal-power plants. There is no objective cost-benefit analysis that could justify the president’s target for renewable energy.
Recently Bill Gates explained in an interview with the Financial Times why current renewables are dead-end technologies. They are unreliable. Battery storage is inadequate. Wind and solar output depends on the weather. The cost of decarbonization using today’s technology is “beyond astronomical,” Mr. Gates concluded.
Google engineers came to a similar conclusion last year. After seven years of investigation, they found no way to get the cost of renewables competitive with coal. “Unfortunately,” the engineers reported, “most of today’s clean generation sources can’t provide power that is both distributed and dispatchable”—that is, electricity that can be ramped up and down quickly. “Solar panels, for example, can be put on every rooftop, but can’t provide power if the sun isn’t shining.”
If Mr. Obama gets his way, the U.S. will go down the rocky road traveled by the European Union. . . .
It’s not just the costs–which are substantial by any measure–of President Obama’s war on coal and other fossil fuels. It’s the negative impact on daily lives. When I lived in Ireland as a Fulbright scholar in the winter/spring of 2011, one of the most shocking things was the inability to buy a real and bright lightbulb. I looked literally everywhere–hardware stores, home improvement stores, grocery stores. But there were no bright bulbs to be bought, at any price. They were all these “energy efficient” bulbs– no brighter than 60 watts, and even those did not strike me as providing as much light as the incandescent 60w bulbs I had known back home. It was so dark in our house–even with all the lights on–that I had to buy a little desk lamp with a halogen bulb, so that I could have sufficient light for reading.
So if President Obama’s agenda is to force the U.S. to go the way of the EU, energy-wise–with or without our legislative branch’s approval–be prepared for (literal) darkness.
Posted at by Elizabeth Price Foley on Jul 06, 2015 at 6:19 pm Link
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Dec 07, 2014 at 8:09 pm Link
LED LIGHTBULB UPDATE: So, today I installed some of these Cree 100-watt equivalent LED bulbs in a couple of fixtures that need more oomph. They’re only rated for 60-watt incandescents, and I really want a little more light. One is in a bathroom (really, the water-closet part of the master) and the other is in an overhead fixture in the media room. In both cases, the spaces were brightened up nicely by the brigher LEDs compared to the 60-watt bulbs they replaced. Quality of light is . . . decent. Not as good as a standard incandescent, but better than a CFL. Now to see if they’ll live up to their projected 20+ year lifetime.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on May 29, 2014 at 11:29 pm Link
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Mar 01, 2014 at 1:00 pm Link
PEOPLE HAVE ASKED ME ABOUT THE OMNIBUS BILL’S defunding of enforcement for the light bulb ban, but I’m not convinced it will make much of a difference. It’s not the first time they’ve done that. And the manufacturers, who were the real impetus behind the ban, just don’t want to sell the bulbs. And so long as the law is on the books, but just not enforced, I can’t imagine anyone sinking much capital into starting their own company.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jan 19, 2014 at 6:44 pm Link
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jan 11, 2014 at 10:00 pm Link
ADVENTURES IN CRONY CAPITALISM: Your light bulb loss is manufacturers’ gain. “Big business lobbies for big government in order to profit in ways the free market would never allow. All the time. The light bulb law is a great example.”
Competitive markets with low costs of entry have a characteristic that consumers love and businesses lament: very low profit margins. GE, Philips and Sylvania dominated the U.S. market in incandescents, but they couldn’t convert that dominance into price hikes. Because of light bulb’s low material and manufacturing costs, any big climb in prices would have invited new competitors to undercut the giants — and that new competitor would probably have won a distribution deal with Wal-Mart.
So, simply the threat of competition kept profit margins low on the traditional light bulb — that’s the magic of capitalism. GE and Sylvania searched for higher profits by improving the bulb — think of the GE Soft White bulb. These companies, with their giant research budgets, made advances with halogen, LED and fluorescent technologies, and even high-efficiency incandescents. They sold these bulbs at a much higher prices — but they couldn’t get many customers to buy them for those high prices. That’s the hard part about capitalism — consumers, not manufacturers, get to demand what something is worth.
Capitalism ruining their party, the bulb-makers turned to government. Philips teamed up with NRDC. GE leaned on its huge lobbying army — the largest in the nation — and soon they were able to ban the low-profit-margin bulbs. . . .
Technologies often run the course from breakthrough innovation to obsolete. Think of the 8-track, the Model T or Kodachrome film. But the market didn’t kill the traditional light bulb. Government did it, at the request of big business.
That’s usually how these things work. Big business is not the same as capitalism or free markets.
Some consumers complain that CFLs don’t last as long as advertised. One characteristic of CFL bulbs is they are “fairly fragile” and can succumb to overheating, said Terry McGowan, director of engineering for the American Lighting Association.
“Those life ratings are established in a test lab and not established in somebody’s living room fixture,” McGowan said. “When you put them in a fixture and bottle them up in a glass shade, they get too hot and the life will be shortened.”
LED lights can also overheat. McGowan recommends using these bulbs in light fixtures that have good ventilation.
So the LED lifespan figures, like the CFL lifespan figures, aren’t really applicable to the real world. Great.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Dec 07, 2013 at 1:30 pm Link
LIGHTBULB UPDATE: So as promised, I got and installed some CREE LED bulbs. I put ’em in a fixture in the media room that’s kind of hard to access, in the hopes that their long life will spare me some ladder work. (My previous hope in that department, CFL bulbs, didn’t pan out). The light looks good — Helen (who hates all CFLs) thought it looked great. I also installed a 60-watt equivalent GE LED bulb over our breakfast table. I liked the light from it a bit better, but Helen liked it less.
Uh huh. I was happy with the old ones. I was initially enthusiastic about CFLs, but they disappointed — especially in terms of lifespan. I’ve got a couple of expensive LED bulbs from a few years back that are okay. I’ve ordered some of the CREE bulbs that readers seem to like, and I’ll report on them soon. Or you can just stock up on incandescents while you still can, and wait until the alternatives improve. That’s what I did, since the Insta-Wife strongly prefers incandescents.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Nov 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm Link
WHICH LIGHT BULB SHOULD YOU PICK TO REPLACE INCANDESCENTS? “Starting Jan.1, 2014, manufacturers will stop making 60- and 40-watt incandescent light bulbs to comply with new federal energy efficiency laws. Should you choose halogens, CFL-halogen hybrids, or LEDs to replace your old household bulbs?”
So the administration knew full well in 2010 that Obama’s promise was a false one. Yet he was still making it in 2012. The White House website still declares: “If you like your plan you can keep it and you don’t have to change a thing due to the health care law.” Most astonishingly, Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett was still making it yesterday, when she tweeted: “FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans.”
The latter sentence is true if you construe it with a Clintonian literalism. In every case in which “change is required,” it is also true that “insurance companies change existing plans.” But the former sentence is a brazen falsehood. Insurance companies are changing existing plans because ObamaCare forces them to.
Yep. Might as well say that GE just suddenly decided to quit selling incandescent bulbs.
Not only have CFL’s not lived up to their promise, but their lousy record has made people less enthusiastic about LED bulbs, which just might.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Mar 24, 2013 at 8:13 am Link
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE LIGHT BULB BAN. “These changes in the law are going to demand that we change the way we think about lightbulbs. We’re accustomed to a lightbulb being a minor expense, but the upfront cost of an energy-efficient one is much higher. Some might cost $30 or more per bulb.”
Renowned lighting designer Howard Brandston, a retired Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor and a founder of RPI’s Lighting Research Center, is leading a crusade to save the incandescent light bulb.
From his farmhouse in the Columbia County hamlet of Hollowville, Brandston is almost singlehandedly trying to preserve Thomas Edison’s iconic invention so it is not relegated to the dustbin of history.
Brandston calls it a misguided energy conservation effort by the federal government to phase out incandescent light bulbs and replace them with compact fluorescent lamps, known as CFLs.
He said CFLs are far more expensive, their energy savings is insignificant and they pose potential health and environmental problems because they contain mercury, a toxic heavy metal.
Just another #Greenfail.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Nov 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm Link
To my surprise, it’s still possible to stock up on 100 watt incandescents. I wonder if it’s like the high-capacity magazine ban, where so many were stockpiled that you could buy them right up until the “ban” was repealed. I hope so. Especially about the repeal part.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jul 25, 2012 at 10:37 am Link
FOR EVERY PROBLEM, THERE’S A SOLUTION!: Governing through the eyes of progressives: An overview
The U.S. government last year announced a $10 million award, dubbed the “L Prize,” for any manufacturer that could create a “green” but affordable light bulb.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the prize would spur industry to offer the costly bulbs, known as LEDs, at prices “affordable for American families.” There was also a “Buy America” component. Portions of the bulb would have to be made in the United States.
Now the winning bulb is on the market.
The price is $50.
Retailers said the bulb, made by Philips, is likely to be too pricey to have broad appeal. Similar LED bulbs are less than half the cost.
That Panasonic phone you’re linking today is very nice, and makes it easy to cut the landline cord. We have ours Bluetooth-linked to an old cell phone that we ported our old home number to, saving us a good $20/month on AT&T’s ridiculous landline charges. Works just like a “regular” phone line, and you can buy additional phones to put around the house if two aren’t enough. My only complaint is that the built-in answering machine doesn’t work for “cell-only” mode.
Interesting. And reader Colin Frazier writes:
1. has dropped home phone service in favor of using a mobile phone AND
2. has a larger-than-two-room home AND
3. has pants without pockets (that is, someone who is a woman :-)
will love the Link-to-Cell functionality. I got one for my parents. They use it with no land line and two cell phones. They drop their cell phones by the Panasonic base station when they walk in the house and they connect automatically. Inbound calls ring all their cordless ones. Likewise, they can make calls out through their cell phones from any cordless set. You can even easily transition to or from the cell phone to take a call on the road or to finish one at home.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Feb 22, 2012 at 9:00 am Link
1. Although halogen bulbs don’t offer much of an energy savings over ordinary incandescents, compact fluorescents sure do, and you’d be a fool not to use them whenever you could. Me, I’ve got ’em all over the house, including right here in the desk lamp.
2. Telling me I have to use them — production and import of conventional 100-watt incandescent bulbs were effectively banned Jan. 1– is a pointless intrusion on my personal rights. . . . The net social benefit of legislating incandescent bulbs out of existence is likely to be negligible.
Well, not entirely pointless, as big contributors have invested heavily in “green” replacements. But there’s still time to stock up until supplies run out.
I also notice that Cecil has found, as I have, that the lifespan of CFLs hasn’t lived up to the promises.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Feb 05, 2012 at 6:53 pm Link
WASHINGTON TIMES:Obama’s Twisty Light Bulb Logic. “Some critics have charged that hyping mercury poisoning in MATS was just a cover for the EPA to ramp up its regulatory assault on the coal industry. Trace amounts of mercury from coal-fired power-plant emissions affect a small number of Americans, chiefly those who live near the emissions sources. At the same time, however, the Obama administration has been trying to force Americans to accept even greater mercury risks by insisting that traditional incandescent light bulbs be replaced with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). The mercury vapor in CFLs is at a much more dangerous concentration than anything coming out of power plants.”
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jan 29, 2012 at 2:41 pm Link
PUSHBACK: Lawmaker proposes measure to exempt Va. from incandescent light bulb phase-out. “Marshall is not alone in resisting the federal mandate to convert to CFLs and halogen lights, which also are more energy efficient than standard bulbs. Seven other states have legislation pending to deal with the issue, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and a Texas law took effect this month stating that incandescent bulbs manufactured in the state are not subject to federal law or regulations.”
Halogen bulbs are fine; we have several of them in fixtures in our apartment. We even have a few of the dreaded compact fluorescents, but only in the kitchen and one desk lamp. But we like traditional incandescents and have stockpiled enough of them to last the rest of our life.
The choice to purchase them is now gone, or will be, as even PolitiFact acknowledges, when “supplies run out.” By PolitiFact’s logic, people who think abortion should be outlawed are pro-choice because they would allow other choices (childbirth, adoption, avoiding pregnancy via abstinence or contraception).
Like PolitiFact, abortion opponents favor laws taking away choices they don’t think are worth having. You can agree or not, but that’s a matter of opinion, not fact.
Jeez- Tennessee Politifact agrees the light bulb most Americans currently use will not be available after existing supplies are sold out. Yet it rates Marsha Blackburn’s claim that the law reduces our choices “mostly false”!! Are they trying to compete with The Onion?
Yeah, they blew it on that one. The fact that you remain free to choose the bulbs the government approves of doesn’t make Blackburn’s statement that the government is taking away consumer choice by banning incandescent bulbs even a little bit false.
Very disappointed in this product. Purchased to use on a camping trip for both light and heat, since I’d read about how warm they get. The more fool I! Long story short, there’s a WHOLE lot of fine print they don’t tell you about up front: Requires a lamp, requires an “outlet”, requires some arcane piece of kit called a “power grid” that Amazon doesn’t even carry!
May be a great product IF you already collected all the accessories, but I have better things to spend my money and my time on.
P.S. INCREDIBLY fragile. Definitely not top-shelf camping gear!
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Dec 30, 2011 at 6:46 pm Link
The National Transportation Safety Board wants a complete ban on cellphone use while driving, even on hands-free calls. Some will protest this as yet another government encroachment on freedom, but we should think twice before rocking the boat here.
After all, have you considered how lucky we are that the government lets us drive cars at all?
Imagine if cars hadn’t been around for a century, but instead were just invented today. Is there any way they’d be approved for individual use? It’s an era of bans on incandescent bulbs; if you suggested putting millions of internal-combustion engines out there, you’d get looks like you were Hitler proposing the Final Solution.
Even aside from pollution, the government wouldn’t allow the risks to safety. . . . Driving is basically a grandfathered freedom from back when people cared less about pollution and danger and valued progress and liberty over safety. They had different equations related to human life then: We could lose 10,000 men in a single battle in a war and call it a victory.
We’re talking foolhardy people who eventually sent men to the moon strapped to a giant rocket that had less computational power than it takes to calculate the trajectory of an Angry Bird. Their kids dangled from jungle gyms over pavement.
Face it: We’re just not those people anymore. We don’t do dangerous things where lots of people could be hurt . . . even if they’re really cool and fun ideas. You can say we value human life more now, but it’s probably more apt to say we’re much sissier.
Read the whole thing.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Dec 17, 2011 at 10:26 am Link
MICKEY KAUS: Did Dems Secretly Punt on Light Bulb Ban? “Maybe Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats would just as soon that Congress put off the de facto ban on cheap, familiar incandescent bulbs until after the election. If the ban can drive the Velvet Underground’s Moe Tucker into the Tea Party, who knows how many other voters it will annnoy. This would explain the strange lack of strong Dem opposition to a GOP rider that defunds the incandescent ban until Sept. 30.”
Of course, this also keeps it alive as an election issue, which isn’t likely to help Dems.
UPDATE: Reader Michael Hess writes:
In re: to your post about the ‘light bulb nightmare being averted’ (http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/133627/)
The ban remains on the books. All Congress has done is zero out the money to enforce it. All it would take is for the funding to be restored as yet another publicity gimmick – or slipped it unobtrusively in yet another multi-thousand-page omnibus – and the ban could -immediately- drop into effect.
If you were a major retailer of incandescent light bulbs, how many would you keep in your warehouses? How many are there now?
If you were a manufacturer of incandescent light bulbs, would you keep your production lines humming? Are they shut down already?
This all seems like chicanery and grandstanding; the Republicans get to chalk up a PR win, the Dems get to claim they’re being compromising and flexible, while bulb availability may still take a nasty hit due to regulatory unpredictability.
It’s a bad bill, all right. It’s a terrible bill – awful from start to finish, idiotic to the core, corruptly pandering to a powerful special-interest group at the cost of everyone else’s liberty.
But I can’t help noticing that a lot of the righteous panic about it is being ginned up by people who were cheerfully on board for the last seventeen or so government power grabs – cap and trade, campaign finance “reform”, the incandescent lightbulb ban, Obamacare, you name it – and I have to wonder…
Don’t these people ever learn? Anything? Do they even listen to themselves?
It’s bizarre and entertaining to hear people who yesterday were all about allegedly benign and intelligent government interventions suddenly discovering that in practice, what they get is stupid and vicious legislation that has been captured by a venal and evil interest group.
Yeah, no shit? How…how do they avoid noticing that in reality it’s like this all the time?
Well, only about 98% of the time, actually. I mean, nobody’s perfect.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Dec 17, 2011 at 7:57 am Link
NTSB AND CELL PHONES: Fudging The Numbers? “I had looked at the NTSB’s data on distracted driving, which is where you’ll find the 3,000 figure, and learned that of the distracted driving deaths, only 995 were attributable to cell phone use.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Ed Morrissey: NTSB cell-use ban proposal an overreaction, and a waste of time. “So even though no one could tell whether the driver was even looking at his phone before the accident, the NTSB is insisting that all cell phone use, including hands-free calling, get banned, even though phone calls had nothing to do with the accident at all. Why ban phone calls if the NTSB blames texting for the accident? Well, as it turns out, texting while driving was already illegal in these circumstances.”
MORE: “This is a day for rejoicing. The forces of liberty have overwhelmed the forces of a world so green one would not have been able to read a traditional book by a traditional light bulb.”
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Dec 16, 2011 at 10:55 am Link
AWESOME NEWS IF IT PANS OUT: Spending bill blocks light bulb standards. “The shutdown-averting budget bill will block federal light bulb efficiency standards, giving a win to House Republicans fighting the so-called ban on incandescent light bulbs. GOP and Democratic sources tell POLITICO the final omnibus bill includes a rider defunding the Energy Department’s standards for traditional incandescent light bulbs to be 30 percent more energy efficient. DOE’s light bulb rules — authorized under a 2007 energy law authored signed by President George W. Bush — would start going into effect Jan. 1. The rider will prevent DOE from implementing the rules through Sept. 30.”
So if this works, what will I do with my closet full of incandescent bulbs? Er, use ’em, just like I would have anyway. But it’s great if we can scuttle the idiotic bulb-ban.
Plus, an interesting take from a Democratic Congressman: “It’s the power of Michele Bachmann and the presidential campaign.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Cindy McNew writes: “While I agree it’s idiotic–it’s more, it’s a first potentially really big in-your-house salvo in the Green religion wars. I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic, but a lot of those folks would like to take away your clothes dryer and your trash can, too, and replace them with a clothesline and a compost bin. Low-flow toilets and shower heads are minor annoyances compared to being required to have a houseful of ugly and dangerous florescent bulbs. The repeal can’t come soon enough. Signing that law and “No Child Left Behind” are really the only things I know for sure that I need to be irritated with President Bush for.”
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Dec 15, 2011 at 11:00 pm Link
UPDATE: Reader Don Bagwell writes: “In all your posts about the incandescent ban, I’ve not seen anything about the emergence of the LED bulb. To my eye that’s a game-changer, provided they do it right (warm light, proper life-span, etc.). Costco had a bunch of ’em. My sense is that’s the next wave. What say you?”
Well, this post sums up my mixed experience with LED bulbs so far. If you pay a lot, they’re okay. If you don’t, they’re no better than CFLs. I think we’re at least two or three years — maybe more like five or ten — away from LED bulbs that are really as good as incandescents.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Dec 15, 2011 at 9:49 pm Link
UPDATE: Reader Maynard Schmale emails: “I just changed two burnt out GE CFL light bulbs. They each lasted less than two months. Crony capitalism at its finest.” Yeah, I’ve been disappointed that mine haven’t lasted as long as advertised.
MORE: Another reader writes:
At Walmart today just outside Washington, DC. Noticed that the 100W incandescent light bulb shelves were bare, as was the section for 50W/100W/150W 3-way bulbs. Guess that even some in the GE/EPA/Congress triangle still want their cheap, safe, convenient, warm lights to stay on after 12/31. Too bad they’re not going to give everyone else that chance!
P.S. I’ve been stocking up for months, but if today’s inventory is any indication, readers who haven’t heeded your warnings better get to the store soon. Who knows whether there will be any left for sale when there’s only a week to go…
You snooze, you lose.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Dec 11, 2011 at 10:33 pm Link
Please don’t think this is easy for me. I’m one of those crazed Americans who can’t walk into Home Depot, Target or my local grocery store right now without wanting to grab one of those king-sized shopping carts and stuff it to the gunwales with 100-watt incandescent lightbulbs.
Maybe it’s the sheer thrill of buying bulbs that in just over a month, as of Jan. 1, 2012, will be banned for sale in America. What fun, in this incandescent twilight, to acquire legally what the federal government will soon treat as contraband, should it appear in any American marketplace. Or maybe it’s that gut sense that with the dollar teetering toward an abyss of unfathomable and inflationary government spending, those beloved old 100 watt bulbs will at least provide a decent store of value, even if all I do is use them to read by for the rest of my life — meticulously taking care never to violate federal law by offering even a single bulb for sale to some fellow citizen willing to pay for it.
Or, just possibly, this urge to stockpile incandescents is the product of simmering outrage. For decades, I have written about America as the world’s beacon of freedom, which it has been. Yet here we are, wards of the nanny state, with politicians dictating that even that prime symbol of American ingenuity, Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb, shall be regulated into oblivion. All this has been ably exposed as an act of crony capitalism, designed to enrich manufacturers who prefer to sell pricier light bulbs that a lot of Americans, if free to choose, prefer not to buy.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Nov 14, 2011 at 8:44 am Link
POPULAR MECHANICS:Is The Light Bulb Ban A Bright Idea? “On January 1, 2012, new laws hit the books that will effectively ban 100-watt incandescent light bulbs. In the coming years, 75-, 60-, and 40-watt bulbs will be goners, too. In this investigation, PM takes you inside the years-long effort to build a better bulb. Plus, we put light bulbs—incandescents, CFLs, and LEDs—through our own brand of rigorous testing to sort fact from fiction with some hard data.” Plus this on CFLs: “Today, the gap between expectation and experience still exists in the world of CFLs. Studies by the Program for the Evaluation and Analysis of Residential Lighting (PEARL) trade group have shown that CFLs don’t always live up to manufacturers’ claims, particularly in life span.” That’s certainly been my experience. I started out a fan, but in my hosue they’re not lasting noticeably longer than incandescents.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Sep 06, 2011 at 6:24 pm Link
THE “COLD CREEPINESS” OF FLUORESCENT BULBS. The newer ones aren’t as good as incandescents, but they’re not as bad as the old ones. On the other hand, they don’t last anything like as long as promised, and they’re expensive.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Aug 31, 2011 at 10:11 pm Link
LONDON: Police Let Gangs Run Riot And Loot. “Britain’s biggest police force is facing criticism after it let looters run riot in north London for almost 12 hours, in some of the worst scenes of street disturbances seen in recent years.” Well, it’s not like they’re smuggling incandescent bulbs or something, you know, serious.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Aug 07, 2011 at 9:03 pm Link
And now we have the light-bulb ban—the odd consequence of our current public religion, our present national ethics. For all this really is nanny-speak: the taking of the moral judgments that religious fervor has spewed into public life and the forming of them into platitudes. More than that, it’s nanny-speak made the law of the land, truisms with the force of congressional enactment. There’s an atheist group called the Abimelech Society whose members pride themselves on their supposedly daring feats of removing Gideon Bibles from hotel rooms and destroying them. The daring is not readily apparent; the day is long past when public outrage over anti-Christian atheism posed much threat. But think of it as a metaphor: Perhaps the time is coming, after our current environmental revival has ebbed, when would-be bravos will sneak compact fluorescent bulbs from hotel rooms—and replace them with clandestine incandescents.
Heh. Edward Abbey “monkey-wrenching” for the 21st Century.
Plus this: “The psychological cost of these bulbs has not yet been calculated. Perhaps it never will be, but here’s one guess at a measure: The Department of Energy reports that from 2007 to 2008 the sale of CFLs in the United States dropped, despite the fact that CFLs were widely available, routinely advertised as superior, and large consumers like factories and municipalities had the looming enforcement of the energy bill to spur them to switch. It’s not that, as a nation, we didn’t try compact fluorescent bulbs. We did try them, and we found them wanting.” That’s been my experience.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jul 24, 2011 at 7:38 am Link
House Democrats on Monday indicated strong opposition to a controversial bill to repeal federal lightbulb standards, which could lead to the defeat of the measure in an expected Tuesday vote.
The Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, H.R. 2417 would end federal bulb standards passed in 2007 that Republicans have since held up as a prime example of federal overreach. House Republicans brought up the bill under a suspension of the rules, which requires two-thirds of voting members to support it.
That means even though a majority might support it, it is unlikely to be approved Tuesday in light of Democratic opposition.
“It was never my goal for Washington to decide what type of light bulbs Americans should use,” Upton said in a statement to The Hill. “The public response on this issue is a clear signal that markets – not governments – should be driving technological advancements. I will join my colleagues to vote yes on a bill to protect consumer choice and guard against federal overreach.”
The bill Barton introduced Wednesday would repeal the light bulb efficiency law.
Or you can just stock up on incandescent bulbs. Hey, they keep for years in storage, and make a great inflation/dollar collapse hedge since they’re manufactured exclusively abroad nowadays. And they’re cheaper (and more useful) than gold coins . . . .
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jun 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm Link
He may have a vote. But it’s a special vote allowing no amendments. It has to pass by a 2/3 vote of the House.
And I put the chance of passing the Senate as low.
So, stock up.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jun 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm Link
LET THERE BE INCANDESCENT LIGHT: Bryan Preston emails to remind me that Texas is fighting the ban by exempting lightbulbs made and sold in Texas.
Of course, if you don’t live in Texas you can always just stock up! Or, alternatively, you can rely on the wisdom and good sense of our elected representatives to reassert themselves. Your choice. . . .
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jun 22, 2011 at 8:26 pm Link
INVESTORS’ BUSINESS DAILY:As Incandescent Bulb Ban Looms, Opposition Grows. “The incandescent bulb lit up America and came to symbolize a great idea. Now on the cusp of a federal ban, Thomas Edison’s invention has become a symbol for personal liberty. . . . Late last year Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., vowed to reverse the very ban on incandescent bulbs that he helped pass. But after five months as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he has yet to hold a hearing.”
UPDATE: Reader Daniel Swaim writes: “Maybe if the notion of a primary challenge is raised regarding this no-brainer issue the light will go on with this dim bulb Congressman.”
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jun 22, 2011 at 10:53 am Link
ANN ALTHOUSE ON CARBON FOOTPRINTS: “Oh, hell! Shut up about my light bulbs. Just. Shut. The. Fuck. Up. If you people really believed in global warming in the form that you would like to foist that belief on the common folk, that quoted line above would have sounded to you as something on the moral level of first, torture a small, cute kitten.…”
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jun 17, 2011 at 11:48 pm Link
FREE THE BULBS: Let There Be 100-Watt Incandescent Light. “Suddenly we are all Joe Banks, innocently enjoying our incandescent light bulbs, only to have Uncle Sam rob us of their superior light in an act of arbitrary deprivation.”
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jun 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm Link
ON FACEBOOK, Virginia Postrel writes that she thinks “there’s no chance the Republicans will even seriously try to repeal the light bulb ban, which would require actually bringing a bill to the floor (or at least having committee hearings). They want the benefits of public anger without actually addressing it–even on this easy issue. Needless to say the budget is much harder.”
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jun 12, 2011 at 9:52 am Link
ON MY EARLIER INCANDESCENT BULB POST, A READER EMAILS: “Having had much the same experience with CFL bulbs as you, I have now accumulated enough incandescent bulbs to last me through 2020. As a California resident, I can take satisfaction in giving the finger to two levels of government gone insane.”
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jun 10, 2011 at 11:30 pm Link
BEWARE THE LIGHT BULB POLICE. “On January 1, 2012, seven months from this week, Washington will effectively ban the sale of conventional 100 watt incandescent light bulbs that Americans have used nearly since the days of Thomas Edison. Instead we will all be required to buy compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs. We’d like to believe that when the government decrees what kind of light bulbs you can screw into the lamp in your own bedroom, even liberals would be nervous about the nanny state.” Especially since the CFLs have not, to put it mildly, lived up to the promises made.
UPDATE: Reader Dave Tulka writes: “I just had two CFL replacements for the old, reliable 100 watt bulb burn out with less than one hour of service.” Yeah, like I said, they really haven’t lived up to the hype.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jun 08, 2011 at 10:46 am Link
FEARING AN INCANDESCENT-BULB PHASE-OUT, Americans are hoarding. I like the way the NYT spins this to blame Bush even as it tries to debunk. But if people are afraid of Bush’s ban, where’s the change now?
I read the NYT piece you linked alleging that the ban on incandescent bulbs is false. Their claim surprised me, so I checked Home Depot’s web site, which reports that they are indeed being phased out.
Then I compared standard 60-watt incandescents with the NYT’s approved substitute, the Philips Ecovantage. First problem is that the substitute isn’t an incandescent; it’s a halogen. The second problem is that it has the same life, produces less than half the lumens (light output), and costs nearly five times as much. It is 28% more efficient, but that won’t even come close to offsetting its higher costs.
Yeah, and I have to say I’m deeply, deeply disappointed with CFL bulbs. I replaced pretty much every regular bulb in the house with CFLs, but they’ve been failing at about the same rate as ordinary long-life bulbs, despite the promises of multi-year service. And I can’t tell any difference in my electric bill. Plus, the Insta-Wife hates the light. I’ve had somewhat better luck with LED bulbs, of which I have a couple, but though the longevity is better, the light is still inferior.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on May 27, 2011 at 11:51 pm Link
ABOUT TIME: Sen. Mike Enzi introduces bill to repeal incandescent light bulb ban. “The Better Use of Light Bulbs Act (BULB) is intended to repeal the amendment that was attached to a comprehensive energy bill signed by President George W. Bush in 2007. The ban on incandescent light bulbs was intended to save energy and limit pollution.” I went all-in for CFLs, and I haven’t seen any visible energy savings, and they have totally failed to live up to the longevity promises. I’m replacing the — much more expensive — CFLs about as often as incandescent bulbs.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Feb 17, 2011 at 10:33 am Link
Plus this: “Along with mailing in tea bags to members of Congress, we should send them our compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) for proper disposal in hazardous-waste landfills, since they contain mercury.” Probably some sort of environmental crime.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Feb 12, 2011 at 7:38 am Link
UPDATE: A foolproof way to end the screenings: “Have Arizona pass a law saying that illegal aliens will be subject to these procedures as well! The federal government would immediately ask a judge to ban full-body scans.”
Given that Upton is the author of the asinine incandescent lightbulb ban, I don’t even think he should be seated . . . . Here’s more from The Hill.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Nov 09, 2010 at 2:59 pm Link
FULL CIRCLE: What, we’re back to worrying about “global cooling” again? If that happens, we’re going to wish we’d spent the last decade coming up with new strains of frost-tolerant food crops, instead of banning incandescent bulbs. And Fallen Angels is looking steadily more prophetic . . . .
UPDATE: Reader John Chalupa writes: “Fallen Angels is available for download at the Baen Free Library.”
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Sep 26, 2010 at 5:33 pm Link
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Sep 17, 2010 at 12:54 pm Link
BATTLE OF THE BULBS: LEDs vs. CFLs and incandescents. And this understates my own experience: “The PEARL studies also revealed that the average lifespan of CFLs often fell short, echoing a common complaint among CFL users. Among eight frequently tested brands, including Philips Lighting and General Electric, early failure rates ranged from 2 to 13 percent.”
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Aug 06, 2010 at 2:25 pm Link
L.E.D. LIGHTING: I’ve had an LED spotlight in my basement hallway for over a year now, sent by reader Shane Sullivan. It’s a Lighting Science SOL R30, it uses 13 watts, and it’s supposed to be the equivalent of a 50 watt halogen light. It seems equivalent in brightness, though a tad whiter, than the 65-watt incandescent indoor spots on either side of it. The light looks good, and it’s outlasted more than one CFL bulb that was supposed to last 8 years. I don’t know what it costs, but I suspect it’s kinda pricey, but I can see replacing other bulbs with one of these.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jul 13, 2010 at 9:19 pm Link
The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.
Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.
Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’.
The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.
Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.
And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse on skepticism. “It’s the nonskeptics who look bad. It’s not science to be a true believer who wants to ignore new evidence. It’s not science to support a man who has the job of being a scientist but doesn’t adhere to the methods of science.”
Plus, from the comments: “So, can we have our incandescent light bulbs back now?”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s a link to the original interview, which the Daily Mail overhypes a bit. But it’s still devastating stuff, particularly the inability to produce the data.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Feb 14, 2010 at 7:51 am Link
JOHN SCALZI IS unhappy with Amazon over the Macmillan dispute. “Hey, you want to know how to piss off an author? It’s easy: Keep people from buying their books. You want to know how to really piss them off? Keep people from buying their books for reasons that have nothing to do with them. And you know how to make them absolutely incandescent with rage? Keep people from buying their books for reasons that have nothing to do with them, and keep it a surprise until it happens.” I like Amazon, but this seems to have been poorly thought out.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Feb 01, 2010 at 10:13 pm Link
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Apr 01, 2009 at 10:39 am Link
WHY EFFICIENT LIGHT BULBS fail to thrive. “Incandescent light sources typically are very flattering in terms of rendering skin and enhancing how we look. Consumers got used to a very high level of color quality in the home. Compact fluorescents can be some departure or produce less color quality in terms of rendering color inside a space. Some fluorescents are very good, but many are not. . . . There’s no reason today why we shouldn’t be using all energy efficient technologies in the home. The reason we’re not is consumers don’t like this technology.”
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Feb 02, 2009 at 6:27 pm Link
THE INCANDESCENT BAN IS STUPID, and I say that as someone who likes compact fluorescents. But here’s a bit on the future of LED lights. A “wireless lighting revolution?” I’ve been hoping to try some LED bulbs out, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Feb 29, 2008 at 2:46 pm Link
You can take the credit for most of the illumination in my home and your blog posts on cf bulbs are always illuminating, but the NY Times article you link to in ‘LUKEWARM ON compact fluorescent bulbs’ says less about the bulbs and more about the NYT (insular, complacent, reactionary, elitist, lacking balance – although they do briefly discuss “distaste for change” 3/4ths of the way through) Reminds me of all the complaints about how terrible CDs sounded when they first came out.
I started using compact fluorescent bulbs on a whim several years ago after an Ikea blow-out. Those early Ikea bulbs are pretty poor in design (they jut out of lamp shades, waiting to be whacked, or won’t fit inside housings) and light output is poor in the lower wattage ones. All, however, are still burning (whereas all the wine glasses from the same trip are long broken and the Luxor lamps held together with wire and duct tape). After reading about your experimentation on your blog, I started replacing my incandescent bulbs with the GE Soft Whites whenever they are on sale at the grocery store (joined your bulb group too) and I don’t miss incandescent bulbs at all. Actually, I had to check the lamp on my left just now to make sure that warm yellow glow really was one of those old Ikea rectangular-tube monstrosities. The greatest advantage I’ve found is using 26 watt bulbs that don’t overload my the wattage of my reading lamps and provide enough illumination so that I can read without glasses – especially useful after a few glasses of wine.
Always happy to hear about people’s experiences.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Another reader emails:
I purchased a six pack of GE Softwhite 100s (product code 47709) at Sam’s Club. I have one left in the pack, and one currently in use in a fixture. The other four have died. This is in less than one year of use, despite the fact that the pack claims these are “Guaranteed*” 5 year bulbs. The pack cost about 12 bucks. While I have no doubt that they saved me some money on electrical usage, I am underwhelmed by their reliability and longevity compared to incandescents. Just thought you’d like to know.
Yeah, that’s not saving you any money, regardless of electrical savings, given the bulbs’ price. I haven’t had any of the GE’s fail yet. However, I’m told that if you put them in enclosed fixtures where the bulb is horizontal — especially if you have incandescent bulbs in the same fixture — they won’t last as long. I had that happen with some other fluorescents that I put in a 3-bulb ceiling fixture with a couple of 60 watt incandescents. They didn’t last long, I guess because of the heat buildup from the incandescents.
I’d return those to Sam’s, anyway.
MORE: Reader Katie Kearns emails:
Not only do they not last as long in covered (or recessed) fixtures, some will have a nasty tendency to smoke and even catch on fire. There are a lot of not very safe ones out, including the one that my landlord apparently put in a closed fixture in my bathroom. I discovered this when my house was filled with the smell of burning plastic. We found it smoking quite unpleasantly. After a quick search on the net, I found out this was frighteningly common, especially for certain makes and models of lights (ours were Costco specials…). We searched through the house and found a total of 8 of these fluorescents, all of which were in inappropriate places.
This is one reason the ban on incandescents makes no sense — half the fixtures in my house are recess and/or covered. I can’t put a compact fluorescent there without creating a fire hazard! (Which I’m sure is probably worse for the environment. And my house!)
The incandescent ban is asinine.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jan 13, 2008 at 8:06 am Link