The Village Voice Asks: 'Could Michele Bachmann Be Right?'

Over at The Village Voice, Nick Pinto ponders the horrifying possibility that "the toxic right," as personified by Michele Bachmann, has a point when it objects to the impending federal ban on conventional incandescent light bulbs (which do not meet the government's new energy efficiency standards). Although offended by Bachmann's "shrill lightbulb libertarianism," Pinto has to admit that compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), the least expensive alternative to the soon-to-be-banned bulbs, contain mercury—a fact that alarms people Pinto trusts, including the progressive cartoonist Dan Perkins, a.k.a. Tom Tomorrow. Perkins flew into a panic after breaking a CFL in his son's bedroom, egged on by a rather alarming set of cleanup instructions (PDF) from the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Unlike concerns about the price and performance of CFLs, Pinto suggests, fears of the mercury inside them are legitimate, even though they are fanned by rabid reactionaries like Bachmann, who has introduced legislation to repeal the bulb ban:

Could Michele Bachmann be right?

Experts dismiss Bachmann's more florid predictions of the ecological doom threatened by twisty lightbulbs. But she isn't wrong that the disposal of CFLs poses a real problem.

Even so, Pinto says, the potential hazards of CFLs need to be weighed against their environmental benefits:

Energy-efficiency activists say the net environmental impact of the bulbs is still positive. Just looking at the mercury emissions, even if every CFL wound up broken in a landfill, by replacing traditional incandescents with CFLs, we still come out ahead.

"You can look at the toxicology globally or locally," says Russ Leslie, associate director of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "Globally, because of the avoided power generation, which puts mercury into the atmosphere, you're better off even if the mercury in the bulbs is not disposed of properly. Nonetheless, locally, if it's in your house, that understandably bothers some people."

Persuading nervous home owners of the importance of the global over the local isn't always easy.

"It can be a hard argument to explain to people, because they’re just looking at the mercury in their home," says Laura Haight, a senior environmental associate at New York Public Interest Research Group.

"You don't want to downplay the risks, but it's a matter of triage when you’re working in the environmental movement—you have to work your way down the list of hazards."

Let us pause to savor the delicious irony of activists who never hesitate to hype a hazard suddenly trying to put this particular danger in perspective because it works against their regulatory agenda. But you know what? NYPIRG is right about this environmental threat. (There's a sentence I never thought I'd utter.) Yes, mercury is toxic, but CFLs contain tiny amounts of it ("far less than what you find in other household items like batteries, thermometers, and thermostats," as a spokesman for light bulb manufacturers tells Pinto), and agencies such as the Connecticut Department of Health are needlessly sowing alarm by treating a broken bulb like a nuclear meltdown.

My "shrill lightbulb libertarianism" nevertheless leads me to defend the right of consumers like Dan Perkins to reject CFLs because they're worried about the mercury in them—or for whatever reason matters to them, whether or not I share their concern or consider it rational. I personally do not get worked up about the mercury in CFLs, but I do not like the fact that they cost much more than standard incandescents yet do not perform nearly as well. In my experience, the long-term savings that the government promises are based on the assumption that CFLs last much longer than they do in actual use. Even if those estimates were 100 percent accurate, I want the right to spend a little more on electricity (maybe a penny a day per bulb, according to the Energy Department) in exchange for bulbs that light up the room when I turn them on and work with dimmers (yes, I know there are "dimmable" CFLs, but those cost even more than the regular ones).

The bulb ban's backers say I can't have that right, because the electricity I use may be generated by methods that release carbon dioxide and thereby contribute to global warming. Since old-fashioned incandescent bulbs are inefficient, they say, they are clearly inferior from an environmental perspective and therefore cannot be tolerated. This sort of argument could be used to override myriad personal decisions that affect energy consumption, logically leading to central economic planning focused on minimizing the use of electricity and fossil fuels. But if the problem is that the price of energy does not fully reflect its environmental impact, it would be much more sensible and efficient to raise that price through a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade scheme. That approach would also be more respectful of individual autonomy, since consumers would be free to make tradeoffs based on the factors that matter to them rather than the ones that matter to people who disapprove of their choices.

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  • reason||

    ...and until the Kochtopublicans agree to let a carbon tax pass through Congress, in the year 2000 and never, people should be free to be as energy inefficient as they want at a cost to other people.

  • ||

    you're assuming the worst; I've had LEDs for over six years (yeah, they're a little strange at first). 2.4 watts an hour 70 lumens, and just pitch the dammed things when they get so dim you can't see shit (which hasn't happened to mine yet). Used to be $50 a piece, now they're $35 or so. Expect them to get cheaper and this argument of incandecent vs compact flourescent (yeah, shitty spelling) won't matter.

  • teh rael o2||

    yep ,economy of volumn

  • My brain cells||

    Please stop killing us, Orrin!

  • Anyway||

    If you keep posting pictures of the retard as a 50-something dried-up hag, even the Republican theists here will start to have second thoughts about wanting to do her.

  • Dr. K||

    2.4 watts an hour

    Say what?

  • Medicare Prescription Drug||

    Electricity use is metered everywhere in the US that I know of, so high users are already paying a financial penalty for their additional marginal use.

  • Tony||

    Who pays for the extra CO2?

  • Sons of Taffeda||

    Plants.

  • Fluffy||

    If you're paying more for electricity, you're paying more for the CO2.

    You're complaining that people aren't paying a cost for being "energy inefficient".

    That's obviously false and idiotic if people who are energy inefficient pay more for energy in direct proportion to their inefficiency.

    Now, you can argue that the marginal cost they're facing now isn't high enough - but you could always argue that later about the tax, too. In fact, I'm sure you will. If you passed a tax and people still wouldn't use CFL's, you'd bitch that the tax was too low. Because you don't really care about having people pay a cost for indulging in "energy inefficiency"; you care about forcing people to obey you. Since there would be people who could easily pay the tax and wouldn't change their behavior, you'd be just as enraged by that as you are by people who buy SUV's and don't care about the gas tax.

  • Tony||

    you care about forcing people to obey you

    Everyone's so quick to assume evil motives on this thread. Once you start ranting about the conspiracy it's pretty clear that you've just gone off the deep end and could use a vacation.

    I just think people should pay for the damage they do to property that doesn't belong to them. Why so many of you guys think otherwise is beyond me.

  • Fluffy||

    I need you to provide a scientific proof of the effect of global warming on each individual acre of property world-wide first, as well as the carbon impact of each watt of electricity.

    Also, can you provide me with any examples of funds collected by carbon taxes anywhere in the world resulting in checks being cut to the owners of "damaged" property? Can you find that for me?

    Then we'll talk about who's damaging whose property. And how those with damaged property are being compensated.

    While we're waiting for that: As of this second the electricity I am personally using comes from the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, or from Hydro Quebec. In other words, MY electricity isn't contributing to global warming. So why can't I have incandescent bulbs again?

    Lots of people around here do net metering off of home solar installations. Why can't those people use incandescent bulbs, Tony?

  • Tony||

    on each individual acre of property world-wide

    But the infeasibility of this is why the concept of externalities exist. But just because you can't calculate it exactly doesn't mean the harm magically doesn't exist. I think our goal should be to price fossil fuel energy out of existence, since we know the harm it causes and know it has to be stopped.

    The light bulb thing is just kind of petty and silly to bitch about. You like them because you're used to them. They aren't really superior in any way. And nobody said you were guaranteed every little product you want from the marketplace.

  • Fluffy||

    But just because you can't calculate it exactly doesn't mean the harm magically doesn't exist.

    OK let's review:

    1. You can't prove to me that any particular acre of property has been harmed.

    2. You can't show me that any money collected from carbon taxes anywhere in the world has ever been paid to the owner of a property that has been harmed.

    3. Despite #1 and #2, you still assert that your motivation here is that you "think people should pay for the damage they do to property that doesn't belong to them". The property that you can't show has been harmed, and the payment you can't show has been made or will be made.

    #4. You think people should pay the penalty (being denied the product of their choice) even if the electricity they use isn't generated by fossil fuels, and therefore plays no role in this "externality" you can't quantify or demonstrate and can't show your desired policy compensates for.

    Did I miss anything?

  • tarran||

    Fluffy, how far from Boston do you live?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    ^^THIS^^

    Now let's watch Tony defend corporatism some more, because we all know that if it were one Kochtopus business or another that was responsible for the lion's share of CFL bulbs in the US (instead of GE), CFL bulbs wouldn't now be mandated from the top.

  • Big Chief||

    Actually I think TCP is responsible for a majority of the CFLs in the US. They're a Chinese company that dropped the price curve for the product and made it really economical. GE just invented it.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "They're a Chinese company"

    Well, that answers all my concerns about the environmental consciousness of manufacturing these. I'm sure if anyone can handle such small quantities of mercury in a responsible manner, it definitely occurs in a Chinese factory operation, and there is no way the amount of mercury or carbon dioxide released in to our global environment from manufacturing compact fluorescent light bulbs in China will ever be greater than the amount of mercury or carbon dioxide released from using incandescent light bulbs.

  • Mike M.||

    Everyone's so quick to assume evil motives on this thread.

    Boy, is this rich coming from a guy like you.

  • ||

    Anyone who supports this idiotic ban is quite simply not a serious person and no friend of liberty. I hope they all die in a fire.

  • Tony||

    You hope George W. Bush dies in a fire?

    =(

  • Fluffy||

    I do.

    Can I watch?

  • ||

    It was easily the dumbest thing he did. And he has a lot to answer for for signing it. The only good thing about it is that it provides a ready made intelligence test. If someone supports this ban, there is no point in listening to anything else they have to say.

  • iraq w no nukes||

    what was lil w's dumbest again?

  • Medicare Prescription Drug||

    No props for me once again.

  • AZ||

    +1 billion (dollars)

  • Joe M||

    Let's be honest. It was in the top fifty dumbest things he did, maybe.

  • Restoras||

    Reminds me to buy some 75W this weekend.

  • ||

    Yep. We're buying 1 box per month of the good "daylight" bulbs this year. That should give us a supply to last until the eggheads work out the kinks or the dimbulbs get pushed out of the way. Maybe we'll get our toilets back too.

  • Sons of Taffeda||

    I get up in the evening
    And I ain't got nothing to say
    I come home in the morning
    I go to bed feeling the same way
    I ain't nothing but tired
    Man I'm just tired and bored with myself
    Hey there baby, I could use just a little help

    You can't start a fire
    You can't start a fire without a spark
    This gun's for hire
    even if we're just crapping in the dark

  • ||

    I have to say I agree with Springsteen on this one; he can't make the grade.

  • Warty||

    I love that it's the Village Voice daring to call other people shrill.

  • ||

    Hey, what's not to like about a free paper that one takes for the Dan Savage column and then you throw in the garbage? Is that anything like incandescent bulbs?

  • Shorter Epi||

    I LOVE GETTING PEGGED!

  • ||

    DANCE!

  • Virginia||

    So LEDs will lead to a CFL ban in 2015? And eventually we'll get our eyes shined like Riddick and have no further need for light.

  • Fluffy||

    Here's a great example of how environmentalists are cunts.

    They trumpet the energy and cost savings, but then I point out that the CFL's I have bought (hey, there were coupons) emitted an audible buzz, and burned out after six months just like an incandescent bulb. In response, they have the fucking balls to tell me that the problem is probably that I turn them off and on too much - i.e. whenever I enter or leave a room.

    So apparently there are going to be huge energy savings realized by having me buy these bulbs and then leave all of my motherfucking lights on all motherfucking day.

    In addition, I wasn't able to install CFL's all over the house, because CFL's would not fit in 75% of my fixtures. So apparently there will also be huge energy savings achieved when all-new fixtures have to be manufactured, transported to and installed in my home.

    How can anyone take these fuckers seriously?

  • Tony||

    How is it environmentalists' fault that you don't have standard fixtures?

    I installed them in my house the week I moved in and not a single one has gone out in more than 5 years.

    And the leaving them on thing is a myth.

  • Spencer||

    but, Tony, why must you FORCE everyone to choose the "better" product? Why not let them have their crappy ones and make the bad decision?

  • Spencer||

    but, Tony, why must you FORCE everyone to choose the "better" product? Why not let them have their crappy ones and make the bad decision?

  • Tony||

    Because energy inefficiency contributes to global warming, which, despite much effort, won't go away by wishing.

    Institute a tax for contributing greenhouse gases and we'll talk about freedom.

  • ||

    One, global warming is not true. And second even if it were, all the US using these idiotic bulbs would not make so much as a dent in it.

    That is why no one believes in global warming anymore Tony. It is because halfwits like you offer "solutions" that even by their own terms won't solve the problem if it exists. It is all just faith based bullshit. Even you don't believe it. If you did, you would be offering a more effective and realistic solution than this.

  • Tony||

    No one except nearly every climate scientist on earth.

  • ||

    Yeah Tony. That is why you offer meaningless gestures like this as "solutions". You don't believe it is true. If you did you would be supporting geo engineering or some way to help people adapt, in other words actual solutions to the problem. But you don't support any of that. You just use it as an excuse to support the same tired leftist policies you always do and the same kind of totalitarian command and control over people's lives you so desperately love and crave.

    You either don't believe it or don't give a shit.

  • Tony||

    I promise you, I am no supporter of totalitarianism. I just think people (and corporations) should pay for damage they do to property that doesn't belong to them. Why do you feel otherwise?

    You want to claim to be morally superior to me because you think you have the right to ignore scientific reality and thus don't have to answer any of these questions. How precious.

  • Fluffy||

    I just think people (and corporations) should pay for damage they do to property that doesn't belong to them.

    No you don't.

    What would save more energy this year - forcing me personally to switch to CFL's, or forcing MoveOn.org to turn all its computers off and stop using email?

    And no, it's not appropriate to compare the aggregate energy savings. The individual administrators of MoveOn.org are using much more energy than I am as an individual. So why are you going after my preferred use, and not theirs?

    How is MoveOn.org paying other property owners for the damage being done by their carbon generation?

  • fish||

    I promise you, I am no supporter of totalitarianism. I just think people (and corporations) should pay for damage they do to property that doesn't belong to them. Why do you feel otherwise?

    Yes and your desire to see that corporations address their property rights violations is in complete opposition to your acquiescence to the governments everyday steamrolling of those same property rights!

    Try again slaver!

  • Pudgeboy||

    Repeating the words 'scientific reality' over and over again won't make it true. AGW is bunk, full stop. Educate yourself. Study the science, not the press releases.

  • FUCKING OOPS!!!||

    "No one except nearly every climate scientist on earth."

    Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Resigns Over Global Warming

    The global warming theory left him out in the cold.

    Dr. Ivar Giaever, a former professor with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the 1973 winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday, Sept. 13, from the premier physics society in disgust over its officially stated policy that "global warming is occurring."

    The official position of the American Physical Society (APS) supports the theory that man's actions have inexorably led to the warming of the planet, through increased emissions of carbon dioxide.

    Giaever does not agree -- and put it bluntly and succinctly in the subject line of his email, reprinted at Climate Depot, a website devoted to debunking the theory of man-made climate change.

    "I resign from APS," Giaever wrote.

    Giaever was cooled to the statement on warming theory by a line claiming that "the evidence is inconvertible."

    "In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?" he wrote in an email to Kate Kirby, executive officer of the physics society.

    "The claim … is that the temperature has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me is that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this 'warming' period," his email message said.

    A spokesman for the APS confirmed to FoxNews.com that the Nobel Laureate had declined to pay his annual dues in the society and had resigned. He also noted that the society had no plans to revise its statement.

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech.....z1Y3PU2F1E

  • Tony||

    And he's right and every scientific organization on the planet is wrong because?

  • Pip||

    I posted this you man-cunt, because you so often say that no real scientist dismisses the incontrovertable fact that is golbal warming.

    THIS GUY IS A NOBEL PRIZE WINNING SCIENTIST.

    And I would posit that unlike Obama, he actually earned it.

  • Tony||

    And they're every fucking scientific organization on the planet. It's basically 2% vs. 98%. I know it's not a popularity contest but come on.

  • ||

    Because they are fucking wrong.

  • AZ||

    Science is a method, not a popularity contest, and he's adhering to the method.

  • fish||

    Yeah...and the nobel prize winner who quit the APS today because he thinks the "science" is all bilge!

    Try again slaver!

  • Large Group of Climatologists||

    Hey! What about us?

    More than 1,000 dissenting scientists (updates previous 700 scientist report) from around the globe have now challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore. This new 2010 321-page Climate Depot Special Report -- updated from the 2007 groundbreaking U.S. Senate Report of over 400 scientists who voiced skepticism about the so-called global warming “consensus” -- features the skeptical voices of over 1,000 international scientists, including many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN IPCC. This updated 2010 report includes a dramatic increase of over 300 additional (and growing) scientists and climate researchers since the last update in March 2009. This report's release coincides with the 2010 UN global warming summit in being held in Cancun.

    The more than 300 additional scientists added to this report since March 2009 (21 months ago), represents an average of nearly four skeptical scientists a week speaking out publicly. The well over 1,000 dissenting scientists are almost 20 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007.

    The chorus of skeptical scientific voices grew louder in 2010 as the Climategate scandal -- which involved the upper echelon of UN IPCC scientists -- detonated upon on the international climate movement. "I view Climategate as science fraud, pure and simple," said noted Princeton Physicist Dr. Robert Austin shortly after the scandal broke. Climategate prompted UN IPCC scientists to turn on each other. UN IPCC scientist Eduardo Zorita publicly declared that his Climategate colleagues Michael Mann and Phil Jones "should be barred from the IPCC process...They are not credible anymore." Zorita also noted how insular the IPCC science had become. "By writing these lines I will just probably achieve that a few of my future studies will, again, not see the light of publication," Zorita wrote. A UN lead author Richard Tol grew disillusioned with the IPCC and lamented that it had been "captured" and demanded that "the Chair of IPCC and the Chairs of the IPCC Working Groups should be removed." Tol also publicly called for the "suspension" of IPCC Process in 2010 after being invited by the UN to participate as lead author again in the next IPCC Report. [Note: Zorita and Tol are not included in the count of dissenting scientists in this report.]

    Other UN scientists were more blunt. A South African UN scientist declared the UN IPCC a "worthless carcass" and noted IPCC chair Pachauri is in "disgrace". He also explained that the "fraudulent science continues to be exposed." Alexander, a former member of the UN Scientific and Technical Committee on Natural Disasters harshly critiqued the UN. "'I was subjected to vilification tactics at the time. I persisted. Now, at long last, my persistence has been rewarded...There is no believable evidence to support [the IPCC] claims. I rest my case!" See: S. African UN Scientist Calls it! 'Climate change - RIP: Cause of Death: No scientifically believable evidence...Deliberate manipulation to suit political objectives'. Geologist Dr. Don Easterbrook, a professor of geology at Western Washington University, summed up the scandal on December 3, 2010: "The corruption within the IPCC revealed by the Climategate scandal, the doctoring of data and the refusal to admit mistakes have so severely tainted the IPCC that it is no longer a credible agency."
  • Spencer||

    Tony,

    what about deregulating energy so that companies can charge more to clients who use overa certain threshhold? same with water? Wouldn't that solve the problem? Also, as John said, isn't this like trying to balance your household budget on the back of buying generic cereal when you're paying for 2 porches in the garage?

  • Pip||

    They do that with natural gas in my jurisdiction. It's called tiered pricing, I think.

  • Fluffy||

    Institute a total ban on all outdoor lighting for public school sports activities and then we'll talk about energy efficiency.

    See? It goes both ways.

  • Juice||

    Turning off all streetlights in every city would dramatically reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

    But we won't do anything like that because they don't really believe that global warming will be catastrophic.

  • ||

    Isn't that the North Korean solution. At least the stargazing would be great.

  • Big Chief||

    Energy generation is all about level loading and avoiding peaks. Night time streetlighting is off peak and therefore has little effect on the cost of electricity generation.

  • ||

    1. Urim (now Tell el-Muqayyar) was a coastal city 4000 years ago.
    2. Tell el-Muqayyar is now 20 meters above sea level.
    3. Sea level rise is caused by global warming.
    4. Global warming is man-made.
    5. CO2 emissions in the 21st Century BC were worse than 21st Century AD?

  • Fluffy||

    I do have standard fixtures.

    It's their fault because since I can't possibly be the only people with fixtures that CFL's won't fit, they're obviously full of shit when they argue net energy and cost savings from imposing the CFL requirement by fiat.

    If you have the balls to come out and tell me that I shouldn't object to this requirement because it will lower my costs and use less energy, then it motherfucking better lower more costs and use less energy. If my costs go up because I have to buy new fixtures, that means you lied. If my energy use goes up because the bulbs buzz audibly if you don't leave them on all the time, that means you lied. If the bulbs burn out after 6 months even though you said they'd last 5 years, that means you lied.

  • Tony||

    Well a market that can't innovate a new light bulb in 100 years without government help is pretty good evidence that you lied to me about the magic of the market.

  • Restoras||

    Clearly, the market demand didn't exist for a "better" product. CFLs are clearly inferior - especially in producing quality light.

  • Tony||

    Bullshit. They made more money selling bulbs you had to frequently replace so there was little incentive to produce better ones.

  • Restoras||

    Bullshit back at you, Tony. If they were so 'expensive' demand wouldn't exist. In fact, they are so cheap no one cares what they cost. And, the margins are so thin on them they aren't made here - they are made overseas where labor is cheaper.

    Jackass.

  • Virginia||

    Except for the CFL producers that didn't produce incandescents and were actually trying to bring to market a superior product to increase demand (IOW everyone but GE).

  • Big Chief||

    Your lack of knowledge about business and economics may actually be less than your understanding of lighting.

  • Joe M||

    The mistake you're making here is assuming there is only one metric for determining if one light bulb is "better" than another. There can be many different ways to measure that: energy efficiency, initial price, life expectancy, pure aesthetics, etc. Just like one car isn't automatically "better" than another; it all depends on what is important to you: safety, fuel efficiency, performance, etc. Unfortunately, what these laws do is force a one size fits all rule on what is "better", to the detriment of all.

  • Fluffy||

    The cost in hours worked for an incandescent light bulb sure as hell has decreased in the last 100 years, Tony.

    It no longer required any improvement.

    The market will probably never improve on pussy, either. Even if we give it 1000 years. Should we ban that, too, to try to "encourage innovation"?

  • Pip||

    "The market will probably never improve on pussy, either."

    Apparently you don't know about Jessica Alba.

  • ||

    You spend too much time in front of screens if you think Jessica Alba, lovely as she is, is the be all and end all of poon. Look at some of your locals and tell me there aren't plenty of lovelies out there who can compete.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    So now the government "invented" CFLs?

    Go fuck a bag of nails.

  • ||

    Saying there hasn't been an innovation in light bulbs in 100 years is pricelessly disingenuous. Incandescent bulbs have seen many improvements, making them cheaper to produce and thus to buy, burn longer, more durable to shock, softer, brighter, whiter, and give a more natural light.

    Then there have been the innovations of fluorescent lamps, CFLs, cold cathode fluorescent lamps, high-intensity discharge lamps, and LED lamps. I especially like modern LEDs for their high visible light to heat output ratios, which when combined with modern batteries and roto-molded plastic gives me a Weather Ready flashlight that's light-weight, yet almost as bright as anything I could get in my school days, and will run for days (instead of hours) on a set of 4 AA batteries (included), and costs about $5.00 at my local grocery store.

    The "magic" of the market, by the way, is that instead of testing one plan for 300 million people, it tests 300 million plans all at once. Think of liberty as massive parallel processing, whether it's about halogen headlamps, or deciding whether or not to vaccinate yourself against HPV.

  • ||

    Oops. Inflation got me... They cost $6.25 now.

  • Big Chief||

    Light Sources invented since the incandescent light bulb (aka - the last 100 years: Halogen, fluorescent, compact fluorescent, LPS, MH, PSMH, HPS, CMH, induction and LED.

  • T||

    Funny, I still have problems finding CFLs that will work worth a crap in my ceiling fans.

  • Fluffy||

    The fucking things buzz, douche.

    Let's say that the life expectancy of the bulbs is a crap shoot. And if I just keep buying them I'll eventually find one that lasts five years.

    That still wouldn't matter to me, because I don't want to use these things until they are absolutely silent in the manner of an incandescent bulb.

    Unless the answer to that is just supposed to be another great energy-saving suggestion, like "Just leave Windows Media Player playing on a computer in every room in your house all the time".

  • ||

    I've never heard them buzz - but I'm half-deaf for too much gunfire and heavy metal.

    I have had CFL's die within a year or two of use. I just pitch them in the trash. If the mercury was all that dangerous, the smart people in government wouldn't allow them to be sold - right?

  • ||

    No one can because they are nuts. And it is sad. The fact is that environmentalism used to be a noble calling. And there is definitely a place for concern for the environment in the body politic. But the environmental movement has been taken over by idiotic leftists fucks who don't care about the environment and see concern for the environment strictly as a vehicle to advance leftist policies and government control over people's lives.

    It is just another example of how leftists destroy and pervert anything they touch or are associated with.

  • Tony||

    Everything looks like "leftist policies and government control over people's lives" when your side of the spectrum has gone full anarchic retard.

    You don't get to pick and choose which aspects of environmental science you want to believe in, depending on your politics (or what a bloated radio personality told you) then lecture others about their evil motives.

  • ||

    Everything looks that way because it is. And stop spitting one the environment by pretending you care about it because you don't. The day the science tells you that freedom and free markets bests protects the environment is the day you will stop caring about the environment. You and your ilk have completely discredited the term and the movement. And for that you should be ashamed if you had any shame, which you don't.

  • Tony||

    You really aren't aware how much of a Limbaugh sheep you are, are you?

    You don't get to decide for yourself what science is true. Sorry.

  • ||

    I don't listen to Limbaugh you fuckwad. And in a prior life I was an environmental lawyer. And I have forgotten more about the issue than you have ever known.

    Don't lecture me on Limbaugh or anyone else you little communist halfwit.

  • Tony||

    So who is the one convincing you of this liberal conspiracy to dictate your life? It's gotta be someone. Nobody comes up with this bullshit all on his own.

  • Barack Obama||

    "So who is the one convincing you of this liberal conspiracy to dictate your life? It's gotta be someone."

    Let me be clear. It is I.

  • Gus||

    "Limbaugh"

    DRINK!!!!!1!!

  • ||

    No. Conservation was and is noble.

    Environmentalists were always watermelons - green outside, red inside.

  • teh rael o2||

    on a morez serious note...bachmann - yes or no? (ginger or mary ann?)

  • CE||

    No.

  • Spencer||

    what's the downside to traditional bulbs again? They cost more money/use more energy? RAISE ENERGY COSTS-then demand will decrease and things will right thelselves.

    It's not hard.

  • Urkobold™||

    SO THIS IS BACHMANN'S ORAL SEX FACE?

  • Gus||

    You must have a tiny cock.

  • Urkobold™||

    YOU MUST HAVE A KEVLAR TAINT.

  • Gus||

    No, diamond.

  • kilroy||

    If Sullum had balls he'd alt-text that.

  • Restoras||

    More specifically, her "Eww, I have to swallow??" face.

  • T||

    I just want somebody to tell me how I'm supposed to make my lava lamp work with a fucking CFL.

  • Suns of Taffeda||

    ""Globally, because of the avoided power generation, which puts mercury into the atmosphere, you're better off even if the mercury in the bulbs is not disposed of properly. Nonetheless, locally, if it's in your house, that understandably bothers some people."

    So when 100% of the nation's electricity grid comes from green energy, will we get to use incandescent bulbs again?

  • Joe M||

    This sort of argument could be used to override myriad personal decisions that affect energy consumption, logically leading to central economic planning focused on minimizing the use of electricity and fossil fuels.

    You almost make it sound as if that isn't the obvious and intended final goal.

  • Restoras||

    Isn't it interesting that GE happens to make CFL's?

  • Gus||

    Where? US or China (or Vietnam, etc.)?

  • ||

    GE used to make incandescents here in the US. They shut down the Virginia plant in 2009 and the Ohio plant in 2010. Then they shipped the jobs to China where the new CFL factory is! Guess all that lobbying paid off.

  • Juice||

    GE runs this country.

  • CE||

    Equilibrium is a rather underrated movie.

  • T||

    I liked it better when he remade it with Mill Jovovich.

  • T||

    or that other one he made with Milla Jovovich.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    Leaving aside the libertarian disclaimers, energy efficiency standards don't reduce energy consumed for long. Reducing demand through efficiency reduces prices, which in turn lead to increased demand from something else. When the government imposed MPG standards on cars, people drove more, since MP$ increased. This is called the "Jevons Paradox".

    It doesn't even really matter, since LEDs are quickly dropping in price. They produce better light than CFLs, last an eternity, and draw even less power than CFLs. In 5 years, they'll be so cheap that buying incandescents would be like setting money on fire.

  • ||

    I hope so. I'd like to skip straight to LEDs but with 9 floodlights in my kitchen alone, the current $35+ price for each is kind of steep ... especially when the incandescents cost me a dollar and last for 1-3 years.

  • Michelle Bachmann||

    CFLs made me retarded . . . I got better.

    Well, maybe not.

  • Invisible Finger||

    But if the problem is that the price of energy does not fully reflect its environmental impact, it would be much more sensible and efficient to raise that price through a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade scheme.

    WHAT THE GODDAMN FUCK???!!

    We should be importing our electricity from China anyway.

  • Leo DeCaprio||

    I will care about global warming when someone shows me real evidence that warming the planet a bit would be a bad thing.

    "it would be much more sensible and efficient to raise that price through a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade scheme."

    The enviros go after lightbulbs and Sullum encourages them to think bigger?

  • Linguist||

    Congratulations to the author for using the word "myriad" correctly in a sentence.

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