Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Science Technology

Australia Outlaws Incandescent Light Bulb 944

passthecrackpipe writes "The Australian Government is planning on making the incandescent light bulb a thing of the past. In three years time, standard light bulbs will no longer be available for sale in the shops in Australia (expect a roaring grey market) and everybody will be forced to switch to more energy efficient Fluorescent bulbs. In this move to try and curb emissions, the incandescent bulb — which converts the majority of used energy to heat rather then light — will be phased out. Environmental groups have given this plan a lukewarm reception. They feel Australia should sign on to the Kyoto protocol first. A similar plan was created together with Phillips, one of the worlds largest lighting manufacturers."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Australia Outlaws Incandescent Light Bulb

Comments Filter:
  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:25PM (#18083436) Homepage Journal
    It doesn't matter if you are trying to prohibit drinking alcohol or paying someone else for sexual favors, prohibition doesn't work -- all it does is create artificial scarcity which then develops a black market for the product or service. When alcohol was prohibited in the U.S., the mob was created. When incandescent light bulbs are banned, the black market will flourish, unless people see a real reason to switch.

    We tried CFLs in my household and we hated them. We found some random buzzing issues, hated the color of our walls and furniture, and didn't really see a huge savings over incandescent because we turn off lights we don't use (and we use home automation in the bathroom and bedroom). I don't see how the Australian government can really enforce this law other than going after retailers who try to circumvent it. Putting the onus on the retailer will just make Australia that much less competitive -- you can bet that eBay.com.au will have thousands of listings for the old bulbs -- and there is no way that the Australian customs office can afford to search every box for illegal bulbs.

    I'm sure it will work in the short run, but I wonder who is really behind this. It could be Phillips, who is sure to gain a huge profit from the mandate. Maybe it is the mercury disposal company that has a brother in office -- CFLs do contain mercury and need to be disposed of properly (I know there are alternatives, but the seem to reduce the cost-effectiveness of the bulb in the first place). When your CFL bulb dies, you're supposed to return it to the store for recycling or disposal. I'm sure everyone does that, right? *sarcasm* Of course, it is debated that coal-burning plants create a lot of mercury, but I assume that mercury is disposed of properly, unlike the mercury that is in your CFL bulb and ends up in the trash.

    I prefer what Wal*Mart is doing -- working to convince the market that these bulbs MIGHT be better for them. I also wonder about the ancillary effect of the incandescent -- namely, heat. In the cold Midwest, I actually like reading under my incandescent lamp over my bed -- the warmth is nice, it is focused, and it is better than overheating my entire house. This way, I get just enough heat that I need when I am awake, as when I am asleep I can tolerate much lower heat requirements.

    The other two problems with the CFLs is the ugly light they give off (although it is getting better), and how few of them fit into the lamps I have in my household. I also can't dim them (there are dimmable units now, I've heard), which we utilize all the time for effect, especially when watching movies or for social parties we host.

    I'll take a prop bet with anyone here that the black market of light bulbs in Australia after 2010 will be very profitable -- and very easy to maintain.
  • by rlp ( 11898 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:26PM (#18083452)
    Hope they're putting a big recycling effort in place for used compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • by WormholeFiend ( 674934 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:31PM (#18083524)
    When incandescent light bulbs are banned, the black market will flourish

    I dont think that would happen... if stores are forced to sell only non-incandescent bulbs, that's what the majority of people will buy, if for no other reason than out of convenience.

    How much effort are you willing to put into finding black market light bulbs?
  • by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) * on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:34PM (#18083578) Journal
    I find the difference in approach interesting, though. The California proposal, judging by the press releases, seems to be about banning sale of incandescents. The Australian proposal is simply upping the energy efficiency standards to the point where incandescent bulbs no longer qualify.

    So? They're both mind-numbingly stupid.

    Those of you who follow my posts know that restrictions on incandescents (and any other input-based methods [slashdot.org] of getting people to reduce an output) make me absolutely livid. They unfairly single out those who want to feel comfortable (rather than institutionalized) at home, with no regard whatsoever for people's total output.

    Apparently, if I use CFLs, but keep them on ten times as much -- hey, that's fine! If I want to have a HUGE house with enormous heating/cooling requirements -- hey, that's fine! If I want to drive around for no reason whatsoever -- hey, that's fine! If I want to heat my pool -- have at it!

    The more realistic result of conversion to CFLs is "Hey honey, our electric bill is a lot lower! Look at that!" "Great, dear! Now we don't have to worry about turning up the heat in winter!"

    If you want to control carbon emissions, calculate the marginal externality cost and charge it to people. If they reduce -- great. If they don't -- you can fix their damage. Plus, it lets them pick whichever method is least inconvenient. The market would then incorporate externalities into prices.

    Environmentalists: isn't that solution a LOT better than setting up millions of pages of regulations for how big a house you can have, how fuel-efficient your car can be, who needs to get a prescription for a light bulb, etc?

    The extent to which a person wants to control individual behaviors rather than ascertain that the quantifiable damages have been compensated, is the extent to which that person is merely using supposed environmental concerns as a pretense to control others.

    Refusal to quantify the damage, and instead say "Just don't do it" is the mark of a charlatan.
  • by glindsey ( 73730 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:34PM (#18083596)
    Thereby making almost any dimmer switch entirely useless, as well as forcing people to use CFLs in dimmer circuits that could damage them.

    Brilliant, guys.
  • by Stormx2 ( 1003260 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:36PM (#18083640)
    Were you listening to the same radio station I was last night?

    The issue is that they are small and discreet enough for most people to throw in the trash. Workers will easily get mercury on em, and the mercury will seep into the ground, which won't be very good. That stuff as a habit of giving everything cancer!

    They spoke to a guy who ran the only recycling business for these things in a state (I can't remember which). He basically said people aren't natural recyclers, and the issue with the new bulbs is they need to be recycled, its not just helping mother earth, its actually a huge extreme-short-term risk for humans.
  • by bear_phillips ( 165929 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:40PM (#18083720) Homepage
    A tax on incandescnt bulbs would be better. 90% of the lights in my house or CFL. But a few lights are incandescent. Those lights have the fancy shaped bulbs. As a kid I used incandescent bulbs to keep the chickens warm in the winter.There are a lot of niche areas where CFLs make no sense. Don't outlaw incandescents, just tax them more. Then you get the energy savings and the minority of people that need incandescents can still legally get them.
  • Just a thought... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by frostilicus2 ( 889524 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:44PM (#18083772)
    Recently I read that some Autistic people dislike fluorescent light bulbs because they can detect the light flickering [autism.org], where as most other people do not. Although I support Australia's desire for greater energy efficiency, it seems a shame that so many could be adversely affected by this decision. Are there any alternatives for more stable light sources? DC lights and power supplies perhaps?

    (I'm not autistic myself, but I hate fluorescent light sources).
  • by Ironsides ( 739422 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:55PM (#18084010) Homepage Journal
    Unfortunately, there's also the environmental cost, as I see the probability of these being recycled at a high rate as a near-zero probability concept. People only do it with Cans because of the deposit. You'd NEED that to have it happen here, and even then plenty of mercury will be going into landfills. It'd be interesting to me to know what the current rate is with all types of fluorescent bulbs.

    1) People don't need a 'deposit' to recycle. In my area (Fairfax, VA), the trash company just has an extra bin they give us for recyclables. We don't get any money back directly. Maybe indirectly as a lower trash charge rate. It's the same for my relatives in Chicago.

    2) When powered by Coal (as is the case in Australia), compact flourescents have less of a net mercury release, when compared to incandescents. This includes both the mercury contained inside of them and the mercury released by burning coal to power them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:58PM (#18084094)
    More simple. Tax energy higher. This will put a higher economic pressure on energy efficiency regardless of whether it is a light bulb, an air conditioner or a car. And it leaves the means up to the consumer, by either using more energy efficent light bulbs, air conditioners, etc. or by using them more efficiently.
  • by qortra ( 591818 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:58PM (#18084096)
    My eyes and especially my ears are quite sensitive when it comes to those kinds of things, yet I have had absolutely no complaints about my Compact Fluorescent bulbs. Are you using CFLs, or old-school large-tube bright-white fluorescents that were installed back when Reagan was president?
  • by planetmn ( 724378 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:01PM (#18084120)
    Or just let the market forces work it out. When it becomes reasonably compelling to replace incandescent with fluorescent, people will do it. Until that point, why screw with it with legislation? It's not like fluorescent or incandescent is a decision that will decide the fate of the planet.

    That can be true when you are paying the actual cost for your decision. At least in the U.S. though, most items that are bad for the environment don't factor that cost into the purchasing price. Gasoline is one example where we are only paying for the product, and not it's environmental effects.

  • by xenocide2 ( 231786 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:04PM (#18084190) Homepage
    I'm not sure the aesthetics argument holds water though. You can find fluorescents in plenty of temperatures, including ones that match incandescent. But one reason the efficiency regulation works better than an outright incandescent ban is that it targets exactly what is wrong with incandescents today, and it provides a model for improving future regulations. If you feel the need to legislate market availability, just up the lumens / watt ratio. If incandescents or other technology comes along that consumers should switch to (but don't either because they don't realize, or don't think they can afford a "long-term" investment like that), then it's simple to amend existing regulation, instead of unbanning high efficiency incandescents, etc.
  • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:06PM (#18084254)
    In fact, to people with a brain, flourescents are already cheaper, there's no need for another attempt by government to micromanage the population by taxing - taxes are supposed to be a necessity to collect money used to run government, not change our behavior.

    These bans are an affront to personal freedoms. I hear so many people claiming they want personal freedoms, yet a lot of these same people are thrilled when the government oversteps their boundries to control, through threat of fines or imprisonment, peoples behavior.

    I have both flourescents and incandescent bulbs in my house. I have flourescent where it makes sense (lights that are on for long periods of time) and incandescent where they make sense - like where I read and work, so as not to strain my eyesight.

    Even at work, the people in the whole row of cubicles where I am have agreed to leave the flourescents off. That's about 30 or so 25+ watt flourescent bulbs. We have natural light from overhead windows, and when that's not enough, a couple of of us (only 6 cubicles) have 25 or 40 watt lamps.

    The fact of the matter is that flourescent lighting is still mostly too harsh. When the technology comes around, and we see more soft flourescents and LEDs (which I'm more hopeful about), then I'll switch even more. I don't see the problem. If most of us cut down by half because it makes sense to do it, isn't that enough? Why do we need more government intervention?
  • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot...kadin@@@xoxy...net> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:08PM (#18084290) Homepage Journal
    I doubt very much that the preference for warm lighting existed prior to the widespread introduction of incandescent lighting. Before then, most people spent the majority of their time under 5000K light from the sun, and a much smaller portion (relative to the time we now spend indoors) with candles or gaslights. But the "warm" artificial lighting would definitely have been the exception, and daylight the rule. Now, it's almost the opposite way around; people perceive the light from incandescent bulbs as 'normal,' and bulbs that produce light that's actually similar to the big glowing thing outdoors as "cold" and "harsh."

    There's probably some deep-rooted psychological link between lower color temperatures and "warmth," and associated feelings of security (because fires produce lower temperature light compared to the sun, fires = warmth and usually, safety), but I think most of it is social, and that we've acclimated to a home life that's lit by incandescent bulbs.

    I switched my bedroom and home office to daylight fluorescent bulbs a while back, and after getting used to them, rooms lit with conventional (3500K) incandescent bulbs seem very 'yellow' and seem stuffy in comparison. The light from the fluorescents also blends much better with the natural light from the room's windows than the incandescent light did, and there's less of a change during the day (previously, during the morning when there was a lot of window light, it would seem very blue, then during the day as the sun would fade, I'd turn more incadescent lamps on to compensate, and everything would get yellow; now, when it gets dark, I put on the fluorescents, and it's just like turning the sun back on).
  • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:18PM (#18084468)
    Well, isn't that wonderful? You're all for controlling everyone elses behavior because it suited you?

    Instead of trying to force people into it, why don't we just let people decide for themselves. You did and you were happy. That's great. I looked at LEDs for Christmas, but the problem is I already have dozens of strands that aren't LED and they wouldn't match unless I replaced them all, which is quite a lot of money. So when I can change complete sections, I will, but I'll resent being forced to do it on someone elses timetable.
  • by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) * on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:41PM (#18084952) Journal
    I don't even remotely see where you're coming from here.

    And with all due respect, I don't understand why so many people miss the point I made.

    Australia's approach doesn't to anything to change your lifestyle, your comfort, etc

    *banging head in keyboard*

    YES IT DOES!!!

    Why do you think I haven't changed to CFL's? Think about it for a minute.

    -Do I like saving money?
    -Do my investments currently earn less than the effective 100% ROR you get on CFL's?

    It's much harder and controversial to dictate behavior - exactly the point that you make - but your conclusion that this is an attempt to dictate behavior doesn't make any sense.

    No, you're completely misunderstanding my points. I was discussing the relative merits of a) banning individual, specific behaviors vs. b) taxing the negative outcome that the individual, specific behavior contributes to.

    It's not about whether "behavior in the face of potential emergency" should be dictated or not dictated. It's about the level of generality of this dictation. Do you want to ban each and every behavior some beancounter decided is wasteful? Or do you want to assess people the costs of the negative output and let them decide for themselves which activities are still worth it?

    That mega-mansion? Now it will use less energy with the same number of lights installed and turned on...

    Yes, but what you seem to have missed in all of that is that the law makes living in a large house with CFL's less penalized than living in a tiny apartment with incandescents, even though the latter uses far less energy. That doesn't bother you? Or, it does bother and, you propose to restrict home sizes, in the hopes that THAT would be the silver bullet? Or, it does bother you, and you recognize the futility of that, and you get the point I was trying to make in my original post?

    Where is the problem here? Do you really think a lower electrical bill will lead to more heating expenditure? Most people I know whine about their bill, but they like to stay warm no matter what.

    But *how* warm do they want to be? On some level, they make a tradeoff against the bill. Or maybe they'll spend the savings heating the pool, which of course, you now have to regulate.

    I think this idea is outstanding - if nothing else, many people don't even know that CF bulbs are out there - this is a chance to build that awareness in Australia, and maybe more countries will follow suit.

    Right, but you can build awareness without banning. Even a heavy tax on incandescents would be much better than banning them completely, as another poster pointed out.

    Please read my original post again if you would.
  • by value_added ( 719364 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:58PM (#18085342)
    Now, it's almost the opposite way around; people perceive the light from incandescent bulbs as 'normal,' and bulbs that produce light that's actually similar to the big glowing thing outdoors as "cold" and "harsh."

    A thoughtful post, but it's worth pointing out that on a personal level, lights are turned on when it's dark. When it's dark, we want something warm and glowing. And the operative adjective is "golden" rather than yellow. Admittedly, such lighting looks terrible during the day, but it's supposed to, just as lit candles during the day are out of place. Our reactions are entirely primitive in that regard. If you need more "daylight" during the day, well, that's a separate problem I think, which asks for different solutions.

    If it was possible to beam pure sunlight into our homes during the evening hours, I'd bet our circadian rhythms would go out of whack in a dramatic fashion.

    In the workaday world, indoor day-time lighting is already fluorescent. And most of that (in its current state) sucks. ;-) If it was improved, the average person would have a better impression of flurorescents in general, and may be inclined to buy them for use at home, but it wouldn't make them ideal or even appropriate during more intimate moments. Skin looks best under incandescent, which means sex is better in a bedroom at night rather than on a desk in the office. YMMV.
  • by Sly Raskal ( 978788 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @03:06PM (#18085478)
    Now, the only reason I even knew about this was because of someone I know that suffers from it... http://www.lupus.org/education/brochures/photosens itivity.html [lupus.org] Skip down to the #3 in the "How can you protect yourself against ultraviolet light?" section and you'll see that this law could adversely affect those that have this condition.
  • by RxScram ( 948658 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @03:21PM (#18085752)

    Aesthetics are a huge quality of life issue. In two identical* houses, with one house having decor designed to be aesthetically pleasing, and the other house done up in an institutionally drab interior, the people living in the aesthetically pleasing house will be much happier and feel that they have a higher quality of life than the people living in the drab house.

    * Identical size, shape, etc. Only difference is in interior decor.
  • by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) * on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @03:32PM (#18085906) Journal
    If it's about autistics, I was simply referring to people who are sensitive to certain kinds of light, and yes, fluorescent bothers some people enough to give them headaches. I simply listed autistics as an example, even though it's certainly not exclusive to them, nor universal to them.

    About photographers ... what? Every photo studio I know lights with incandescents. Plus, their bulbs.
  • by 0bject ( 758316 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @03:33PM (#18085924)
    Your "average joe" isn't a light bulb fanatic.
  • "grey tinge"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @03:47PM (#18086180)

    "Bright White" CFLs have a strong greyish tinge.

    How the hell can LIGHT have a GREY 'tinge'? Definition: "To apply a trace of color to; tint." Most of the people I talk to who object to CF lights and how they "look funny", don't have a single one in their house. Your brain automatically adjusts to different color temperatures. I used to do theater lighting design, and this is (believe it or not) exploited by designers. One scene's overall temperature influences the next.

    "Daylight" CFLs have a strong bluish tinge similar to the backlight of an LCD display. Ugly. Horrible for photography. Looks nothing like real daylight.

    Tungsten bulbs have a significantly higher color temperature than normal incandescents. Daylight CFLs have one significantly higher than tungsten bulbs. Would it surprise you to know that photographers actually seek out the high temperature FL tubes for home-made lightboxes?

    This is because, unlike you, they know how to properly set the white balance on their camera (hint: you need a grey card.)

    This would make you want to slit your wrist if you sat under it all day. Totally useless for anything except killing yourself.

    I have a "bright white" bulb in my bathroom, one in my kitchen, and one by my desk. The rest are "soft" white. You'll be happy to know that no wrist-slitting has occured in several months since moving in, and my landlord was shocked at how low my power bill was.

  • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @03:57PM (#18086360) Journal
    > California actually has a higher population than Australia

    And are all of these Californians and Australians going to bring their used CF bulbs to the hazardous waste disosal facility, as the instructions say to do? NO. Nobody is going to do this. Everyone is going to dump their used CF bulbs in the garbage EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE MERCURY IN THEM.

    Great environmental move California and Australia.
  • Re:-20C (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @03:58PM (#18086366) Journal
    Yep. I bought them from lowes (american mega hardware store)within the last 6 months or so. In the stairwells with no windows are present and little other direct lighting shows, it is about as bright as a small flashlight for almost 2 minutes. Then everything brightens up and seems to be good.

    It's the same in the kitchen that usualy didn't have any light untill someone would enter it. In the first few minutes it is almost impossible to read the directions from a cookbook or something. Then everything apears to get as bright as it should after a while. This was most noticable when going from the outside to the inside with just the brightness of your car lights bouncing around the garage. I actualy think it gets darker in the kitchen when going into the house.

    Now i don't think we want to talk about high humdity situations like a bathroom with a shower. I havn't put cf's back in there but after taking a hot shower, if you turned off the lights, they sometime wouldn't come back on until you waited a few minutes (2-10 minuteS)I'm going to asume that humidity problem has been worked out because I didn't have the issue in the kitchen when testing the bulbs in there with pasta or potato water boiling.

    Unless recently mean smething like the last couple of weeks, then Yep I have. I don't mean you wait ten minute before seeing the light at all, I mean you only get a fraction of the light until it warms up.
  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @04:00PM (#18086396) Journal
    Given that CFLs are in fact a pile of shit that are actually about half as "bright" as the packaging claims

    So buy ones rated twice as bright as the ones you replace, and you'll still drop the electric consumption by half.

    Oh, but then you'd complain that they look too bright and don't work well on a dimmer (the one fault I will grant CFLs still have, though they continually get better and can now go down to about 10% before stalling).

    and take time to warm up before they produce even that

    Uhh... No. The el-cheapo ones have perhaps a quarter second delay before they turn on, then maybe up to five seconds to "warm up". Better ones have no perceptible delay, and come on right at full brightness.

    Y'know, I do oppose outright bans like this. But from reading Slashdot, I'd swear we live in a world where life-and-death hinges on people doing complex color matching within milliseconds of leaping into any and every room of their homes... "Nein! Your sample has 1.4% too much cyan. Your mother dies."
  • by arminw ( 717974 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @04:10PM (#18086584)
    ....Modern CFLs do not oscillate at anything nearly as slow as 60Hz.......

    There are two big problems with CFLs. One is that they do not work with dimmers. We have a number of lamps which are controlled by dimmers. These are especially valuable in connection with watching movies.

    A worse problem is that CFLs lifetime is much less than a normal bulb in situations where the lights are turned on an off often. These CFLs die very quickly under such service. They are also much more vulnerable to instantaneous power surges and drops. The solid state devices in them silently die and the mercury containing bulb is then trash which needs special treatment.

    They also take a while, (about 30 sec. to a minute) to reach full brightness and some of them flicker or pulsate until they get fully warmed up. So it is best to use them in situations where the light is left on for most of the 24 hour day. They have their uses and encouraging their use is one thing, but across the board banning of normal light bulbs is not a good idea. The color balance of the cheaper ones also leaves much to be desired. Some of them make people look like death warmed over.
  • by Atzanteol ( 99067 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @04:34PM (#18086944) Homepage

    I agree bans are not the answer, but definitely tax the unhealthy, unnecessary, damaging, etc. stuff and rebate the better, but currently more expensive, option.

    Repeat after me: "The government does not exist to make other people live the way I want them to." Even if it *is* "better for them."

    Why can't people get this? That means no regulating marriage, no telling me I can't eat a candy bar or trans fats, no *taxing* me for activities "you don't like", etc.

    I don't *want* to drink 100% juice, I *want* a fucking soda. And I *want* to eat a fucking pound of bacon with it. Maybe I'll die of a heart attack, but it's *my fucking decision*. You don't like it? Tough. STFU and go eat your tofurkey and water. Sorry for the rant but I'm starting to go nuts with the list of things I "shouldn't be doing" that the government wants to either tax or ban.

    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences."

    - C.S. Lewis

  • by stokessd ( 89903 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @04:44PM (#18087090) Homepage

    There's a lot of incandescent bulbs that can't be replaced with CF. For example, the bulb in your oven, that sucker gets HOT. How about those little night-light style bulbs in the "water in the door" of many refrigerators? Just outlawing bulbs is short-sighted and will cause problems. Don't forget all those incandescent bulbs in cars, there's a bunch of them in there. I'd love to see a CF replacement for the dome light.

    I also find it ironic, that other technologies that use lots of power aren't outlawed. There's lots of audio freaks that still use vacuum tubes. I've been known to weld metal which isn't very energy efficient, especially when I make something that sucks and I'll probably throw away.

    The answer to this isn't to outlaw things, but to use economic means to change behavior. Make electricity cost more and people will treat it as a more precious resource. If gasoline was $5 a gallon instead of $2, I'd think twice before driving sometimes.

    I lived in New Mexico a couple years ago, and they had lots of "save water" campaigns. Yet water was very cheap. Certainly a mixed message. I can see not wanting to raise the price of such a critical resource, but it could be done in a tiered fashion, such that the normal amount needed was cheap, but more than that gets expensive in a hurry.

  • grey card (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sulfur_lad ( 964486 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @04:44PM (#18087098) Homepage

    This is because, unlike you, they know how to properly set the white balance on their camera (hint: you need a grey card.)

    A gray card is more useful in terms of getting correct and consistent exposure. They were the tool of choice in film photography (although I still bracketed all my B/W). They are of limited use in colour correction however, it's much better if you know what kind of lights are there and can just adjust for that in the first place (e.g., I know the lights under the tradeshow roof for the auto-show I attend anually are pretty much Tungsten temperature: set it and forget it). Also, what works for the eye may not always match the data (e.g., how you remember the scene vs. how the scene actually appeared), so adjusting one image to 'look right' on a calibrated monitor and then adjusting the other images in a set accordingly may be more appropriate.

    as for CFLs, the entire exterior of my house is CFL-lit and they look just fine. I also replaced all the lights in my garage with CFLs and it's actually brighter than the incandescents, with no flicker. I'll be moving inside with them soon with no complaint.

  • Re:"grey tinge"? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwaterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @05:02PM (#18087370) Homepage

    Most of the people I talk to who object to CF lights and how they "look funny", don't have a single one in their house.

    So? I object to them (on the basic of their odd color balance) - and *because* of that, I don't have a single one in my house. Not owning one does not equate to not having seen one. I've been to friends houses and to offices that have them, I've seen them in lighting displays at the store - without ever owning a single one, I know how bad their lighting is.
  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gm a i l . c om> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @05:52PM (#18088222)

    CF bulbs already make economic sense for consumers to buy- they save a whole lot of money over their lifespan.

    Only if you look long-term (years) - and the vast majority of consumers don't. They see that a new CFL bulb costs $4 and a regular old incandescent bulb costs $0.50, then buy the regular bulb and pat themselves on the back for saving $3.50 to buy some chocolate with.

  • by howlinmonkey ( 548055 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @06:15PM (#18088582)

    I think you are missing a very important point in your rant. In today's world, you eating that bacon while chugging a soda and smoking a Marlboro costs me money. When you have a heart attack, or have to take $1500 worth of meds each month to keep yourself functioning, that raises my health insurance rates. Once your actions effect the lives of others, you are no longer free to act. It is part of the social contract that we all agree to in this society.

    Now, if you want to divest yourself of the protections of society, you will be free to act as you please. You just won't get the health care you need when your arteries can't push blood thru your atherosclerotic veins, or you can't suck anymore air into your emphysema scarred lungs.

    I used to be quite libertarian, and think the way you do. Unfortunately, we can't have our cake and eat it too. If we want to eliminate all social constructs, and actually live the way CS Lewis did, we can follow his advice. I think, though, that CS Lewis would also agree that you have no right to act in a way that negatively impacts others.

  • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @08:25PM (#18090170) Homepage

    Gasoline is one example where we are only paying for the product, and not it's environmental effects.
    Not to mention it's security costs... both the costs to maintain our empire and the blowback in the form of terrorism.
  • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:37AM (#18093846)
    Decorative CF bulbs are available, just noone stocks them. The UK government has been making noises about getting people switched to CF, but if you go into any high street store that sells bulbs, the only CFs you can get are the standard ugly double U bulbs that are too long for most fittings. Even the big DIY stores only carry those and the slightly shorter versions (which are still too long to replace the candle bulbs in my fittings). Micro-spirals, decorative candles, GU10 replacements and a whole range of other CF bulbs are really hard to get hold of - short of ordering online unseen. If shops were forced to carry a greater range of them, we might start to see them fly off shelves. The other thing I've found frustrating is getting anything other than the "warm" CFs, which are supposed to be closer to incandescent in color, but make everything look yellow, and make skin look unnatural.

BLISS is ignorance.