I was recently scrolling through my facebook news feed. I happened upon a post that linked to a WND article titled:
LET THERE BE LIGHT BULBS! TRUMP LOOKS TO FLIP SWITCH ON OBAMA BAN
Energy Dept. cites misunderstanding of law
The article is full of a lot of non-science and even includes this line as a stand alone paragraph: “Opponents of the ban argued incandescents have benefits not offered by alternatives.” Such as?
Given that this ban went into effect not so long ago I remember all of the hub-bub and debate.
Allow me to take a moment to qualify myself.
I am a man. I am a follower of Christ. I am middle class, I am white. I am a republican. I was raised on a farm in the mid-west. I am a bit cheap. I like classics and technology. I (like to think I) am generous. I am concerned about the environment. I did not vote for President Obama. I did not vote for President Trump. There is more, but at some point you have to stop and hope that people will accept that I have reasoning capability beyond my ‘tags’. I do have to include this one, even though it is a bit long – I am reasonable and believe that things and ideas are more complex than the single perspective from which they are presented.
Okay the ground work is set.
I enjoy seeing. Sounds strange to read that line. I am legally blind in one eye so I really don’t see as much as some, but still seeing is not over rated. I think the light bulb is a wonderful piece of technology and surprisingly, even after so many years, it is technology that is being improved and made better.
At one point there was just the incandescent bulb. Electricity flows through a filament and the excited electrons generate heat and light. Not terribly efficient, but it works. That technology was refined and various types of filaments were developed allowing the consumer to decide between a plethora of ‘wattages’ or brightness levels. 40 watt bulbs produced less light than 100 watt bulbs, but they also consumed (or wasted) less energy. I use a bulb for the light not the heat. I do know that bulbs can be used for heat – two uses come immediately to mind; Brooder house lamps and the Easy Bake Oven. (I hope that you do a web search on those two distinctly disparate items.)
Lights are lights – well even lights must change. See what I did there. As technology and the desire for more efficiency pushed forward the common light bulb was reinvented and redesigned over the years until a first real big break, the Compact Fluorescent Bulb or CFB. This was certainly more efficient, but not as pleasant. It was oddly shaped and didn’t cast the same pleasing tone of light as the incandescent bulbs of yore. Environmentally and health wise the CFB posed great risks and dare I say – DANGER! Hazardous chemicals and heavy metals were used in the manufacture and as components of the CFB. Tossing a used CFB into the trash-bin was really not a safe thing to do. All of these negatives meant the bulbs were universally disliked. They weren’t expensive and lasted longer than incandescent bulbs, but they were rejected by consumers.
Next up on the light bulb evolutionary trail the Light Emitting Diode or LED. This bulb used far less energy, produced almost no heat (extremely efficient), lasted a long time, posed a much-much smaller environmental threat (manufacturing), but the LED bulb was (past tense) wildly expensive. The initial bulbs were weird looking and the light was glaringly harsh. As time and technology moved forward the LED evolved. It was manufactured to look like the old reliable incandescent and the LED components were modified to produce a wider range of light. Now you could purchase an LED that was a direct replacement for the incandescent. It cost 3 times more, but lasted 6 times longer. (My numbers for hyperbole only. Just pulling your leg, these are seat of the pants numbers based on my experience.) The cost is coming down as the LED gains wider acceptance.
Why then is this article in WND such an issue? Heck, why is this light bulb thing such an issue? I do not know. I wondered about my friends who rushed out to buy and stockpile all the 100 watt bulbs they could find. I tried to understand the logic. Why in the world do you desire to buy a bulb that is hugely inefficient and must be replaced more often than a babies diaper? You willingly incur greater operating cost for no appreciable (potentially negative) benefit? Does this sound rational? Sane? Reasonable? Responsible?
I suggest we also give up electrical starters in our cars. Hand cranks baby! That’s the way God and Henry Ford made ’em and that’s the way it should be.
Now I understand the market drove the innovation and adoption of the electric starter. I also acknowledge the government stepped in and banned the manufacture of the 100 watt bulb. I abhor the growth and over reach of the government intrusion into my life. But this light bulb thing is an issue where I really don’t understand the uproar. The government did step in and force the early demise of an outdated and inefficient product. How did that change the course of my life really?
I’d really like to see the light.