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Power Politics

California Proposes to Ban Incandescent Lightbulbs 1074

zhang1983 writes to tell us CNN is reporting that California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine wants to make his state the first to ban incandescent lightbulbs with the "How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb Act". The act will promote Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) to replace the inefficient incandescent lightbulbs. According to him, "Incandescent lightbulbs were first developed almost 125 years ago, and since that time they have undergone no major modifications, meanwhile, they remain incredibly inefficient, converting only about 5 percent of the energy they receive into light."
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California Proposes to Ban Incandescent Lightbulbs

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  • by ZipR ( 584654 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:53PM (#17831492)
    Don't most CFL's contain a small amount of mercury? What are we supposed to do with them when they go bad/break/whatever? Maybe this should also come with a CFL recycling bill.
  • Quality of light (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:54PM (#17831506)
    I have never found the harsh character of fluorescent light to be useful for long term study sessions, programming, etc. Whether it is due to a paradigm ingrained in my head or not, I prefer incandescent lighting. Halogen lamps are great too. Am I alone in making this comment or do others agree with my take?
  • by wiggles ( 30088 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:56PM (#17831530)
    The biggest problem I see is that you can't get a CFL bulb to work with a rheostat. There are far too many dimmer switches out there for this to be technically feasible at this point.

    Does anyone know if LEDs will work with dimmer switches?
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:58PM (#17831568) Homepage Journal
    I'm not so sure about that- in that I've got a medical condition that CFLs cause me migraines. But if this will make (similarily efficient) LED arrays cheaper, I'm all for it.
  • Kind of shortsighted (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sokoban ( 142301 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:01PM (#17831622) Homepage
    Yeah, for home use in regular 120v sockets, CFL lightbulbs are more efficient than regular incandescents. Unfortunately, most CFLs contain mercury so disposal becomes an issue. Also, for larger applications, CFL bulbs are not practical. Take street lights for example, they use Metal halide or sodium bulbs which are in some cases considerably more efficient than fluorescents.

    CFLs are nice, and regular incandescent bulbs are on their way out for a number of reasons, but CFLs are far from perfect. Try finding a CFL replacement for a 40 watt chandelier bulb which offers good light without a ballast hum or warm up period for example. I've replaced most of my bulbs with CFLs now, but finding a good replacement for a 40 watt incandescent chandelier type bulb is damn near impossible.

    Oh yeah, and CFLs are still expensive as hell, which a lot of people don't like (even though they may save money in the long run). Replacing all the bulbs in my small house cost a few hundred dollars.
  • Re:Wrong target (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vought ( 160908 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:02PM (#17831636)
    This is the dumbest goddamned thing I've ever heard of.

    I use CFLs here at home. Have for years. But the idea of making incandescents illegal is ridiculous.

    What will studio photographers do? How about people who are sensitive to the noise many CFLs make? What about legacy fixtures that CFLs don't fit into?

    Run a public information campaign instead.
  • by R2.0 ( 532027 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:05PM (#17831696)
    Tell that to those pre-menopausal bitches whose feet are always cold. I built a brand spanking new lab facility in Pomona, and within 1 week there were space heaters under the cubicles. I mean, if 72F-75F is too cold in the summer, see a doctor - you have a medical problem.

    If I sound cranky it's because my current clients are about to move into another of my buildings, and managements big concern is how to tell the employees not to bring space heaters without pissing the employees off. Quoth the safety officer: "I can set rules, but if they get broken there is nothing I can do."
  • by amper ( 33785 ) * on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:09PM (#17831786) Journal
    As I mentioned in the last post on this topic, the vast majority of fluorescent fixtures I have come across in the last decade are horrible polluters of the RF spectrum. I have a recording studio in my house, and I *cannot* run fluorescent fixtures because of this problem. Despite using all balanced connections, there is a marked increase in the volume of the noise floor whenever I replace the incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, or when I use the long-tube traditional types.

    Not that I expect California's legislators to worry about this, even though CA probably has the largest concentration of movie, music, video, and television studios in the country, but what are they going to do to force the manufacturers of fluorescent fixtures (who are largely Chinese companies serving the megabox stores of America nowadays) to clean up their emissions?
  • Re:Wrong target (Score:5, Interesting)

    by coolgeek ( 140561 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:12PM (#17831858) Homepage
    I'm sure there will be exemptions for professional purposes, and of course, street lights, if you can call sodium or mercury vapor lamps "incandescent". I wouldn't mind seeing just regular old vanilla incandescent lamps banned, but better let me keep my halogen for my desk lamps.

    I also think they need to make the local beverage container recycling places take your old CFLs to keep the mercury from leeching into the water tables via the landfills. Maybe even give you a dollar each (of course there would be a CRV-type fee assessed at the time of purchase).

    Does kind of make one wonder though, does Lloyd Levine have any friends that own CFL companies. From what I've seen, even though the big guys like GE and Sylvania are starting to enter this space, I more commonly see off-brand companies on display. What a boon it will be for these smaller companies.
  • What's next? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by avalys ( 221114 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:19PM (#17831982)
    What's next from the People's Republic of California? Will they make it illegal to leave a light on when you're not in a room? How about making it illegal to keep your home warmer than 65 degrees in the winter, or cooler than 80 in the summer?

    Perhaps it should be illegal to drive instead of use public transportation? Illegal to drive a car that gets less than 20 mpg, or carries only two people?

    Perhaps they should ban CRT monitors and TVs, since flat-panels take up so much less power? Perhaps they should ban TV altogether, since it's a waste of electricity?

    Maybe they'll start prosecuting people who take warm showers, or stay in the shower too long.

    All you Democrats who complain about the administration's wiretapping, warrantless searches, and other invasions of our privacy, what do you think of this?
  • by HappyEngineer ( 888000 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:19PM (#17831986) Homepage
    Does anyone make a fluorescent bulb that doesn't make that high pitched noise? That noise drives me insane. I tried some fluorescents but switched back after a while because I just couldn't take the noise.

    There's also the issue of dimmer switches. Do they make fluorescents that can be dimmed? How can I dim the lights to create a romantic atmosphere if doing so causes the light to burn out?

    Then of course there's the color of the light. Most fluorescents give off a freaky white light. But, I know they make fluorescents that have the warmer color like incandescents, so there's no problem there.
  • Re:Wrong target (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <DStaal@usa.net> on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:21PM (#17832014)
    If he wants to do this right, tax them enough that CFLs are the same price on the shelf. (Or are cheaper...) Then people who really need incandescents for something can still buy them without going through buerocracy, but the average user will start noticing that CFLs are the same price on the shelf, and less expensive when used. Then watch people switch.
  • No they shouldn't (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ProfessionalCookie ( 673314 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:27PM (#17832090) Journal
    I paid for my electricity, I should reasonable be able to use it to do whatever I want it.

    Powering an incandescent bulb is within reason. What's next? No P4s allowed since they waste so much energy too?

    Besides banning a particular type of bulb is totally stupid, it would be better to just have regulations on efficiency. As long as we're all being jerks about it just tax inefficient bulbs.


  • by DreadPiratePizz ( 803402 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:32PM (#17832164)
    This would be awful for holywood. Film is either color balanced for incadescant light, or sunlight.
  • Re:Wrong target (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) * on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:35PM (#17832224) Journal
    Three words: you don't experience my consciousness, so don't presume to tell me what does or does not bother me.

    What is with this focus on whether or not I follow some rote process for reducing energy usage? Why not focus on how much I'm actually using?

    I average 300 kwh per month and drive a small car ... yet that's not good enough, so you have to make my home's lighting unpleasant as well? Now, I can't even relax at home. Thanks, assholes.
  • by Gibbs-Duhem ( 1058152 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:37PM (#17832240)
    My company looked into this briefly about a month ago. A quick estimate showed that using current LED technology and the cheapest possible effective powering method resulted in a cost of over $12 per bulb, and that's assuming you can get the LED manufacturers to cut the "1000s of" price by a factor of four due to the vast quantity's needed.

    Plus, then we did the power consumption calculations -- it takes 9 white LED's with a current of 1A and a forward bias of around 4V to give you 900 lumens (the brightness of a 60W incandescent). So, 36W. How pathetic is that? A typical CF bulb takes only around 16W, and costs at most $3.

    So, incandescents are 5% efficient and cost nothing, CF's are 20% efficient and cost $3 a bulb or so, and LED lights are 10% efficient and cost $12 or more per bulb. And before you complain that 10% efficient for a LED is absurdly low, keep in mind that with a 4V forward voltage, you can only put on 30 LED's before it's impossible to power them off of a simple diode rectified, filtered, and voltage stabilized 120V AC line without a boost converter. So, in order to get 900 lumens with 30 LED's, they have to each provide at least 30 lumens. Any LED that high power has sacrificed most of it's efficiency for power.

    It's just not feasible until someone makes a massive breakthrough in LED technology -- and breakthrough technologies simply can't be relied upon for mass production systems... not that I don't like the idea, it's just that CF are the only practical solution until high-efficiency AND high-power LED's are commodity items.
  • by danlyke ( 149938 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:39PM (#17832290) Homepage
    I keep buying compact flourescents in the hopes that they'll work out for me, but the darned things seem to have a half-life of about half a year. They get dimmer and dimmer until we end up switching back to incandescents so that we stop bumping into furniture.

    I love the concept, I'm a fan of lower energy usage, and when I've put in new fixtures I tend towards regular flourescent so that I've got the light with the lower bills, but until someone can show me how disposing of a CF bulb every half year is worth the carbon savings, I remain a skeptic, and I'll have the incandescents that we keep around so that we can see 'til we get to the store to buy anothe CF bulb.

    Or maybe there's something else wrong that I just haven't diagnosed yet, or I haven't found *the* magical brand (I've tried a number of different ones).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:40PM (#17832312)
    I guess since in California all light bulbs are clear glass and
    use carbon filaments they haven't had the major modifications that
    incandescent lightbulbs have had in the rest of the country. I wonder
    if that is due to over-regulation in California? Since incandescent
    lights in the rest of the country have had at least two major
    modifications in the last 60 years; the tungsten filament and the
    soft white flourscent internal coatings.

    Maybe a more productive law would outlaw the current state
    legislature in California since it hasn't undergone any major
    modifications in 100 years. In the rest of the world we realize
    that marxism doesn't work and is wastefull of people and resources.
  • by Nonillion ( 266505 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:56PM (#17832618)
    I'm glad to see someone else outside of the HAM radio community brining this issue up. I have several CFL lamps in my house, and for the most part, do not generate any harmful radio spectrum pollution. However, there is one '100 watt' CFL lamp in my laundry room that generates enormous amounts of spectrum pollution. Personally, I think LED lighting technology will overcome CFL. It's instant on, almost no heat and doesn't contain as many harmful ingredients (like mercury). And with service lifetimes exceeding 100,000 hrs, will FAR outlive any CFL.

  • by Shannon Love ( 705240 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:58PM (#17832666) Homepage
    I find it disturbing how quick many people resort to coercion to accomplish their goals. CFLs so clearly out perform incandescents that their eventual triumph in the free market is assured. Why do we need to hold a gun to people's head to drive their adoption? Will the use of threats of state power really accelerate the rate of adoption enough to justify it?

    Moreover, the coercive policy will almost certainly fail in its goal of reducing CO2 emissions. Since it takes more energy to construct CFLs, forcing their adoption will generate more CO2 emissions in the short run. History has shown that making a technology more efficient causes people to consume more of it usually to the point that the increased usage offsets the efficiency gains. Contemporary incandescent bulbs are orders of magnitude more efficient than Edison's bulbs yet we certainly do not use less electricity per capita for lighting. I doubt that CFLs will change this fundamental dynamic.

    Can we really justify imposing fines or even imprisoning people to enforce a policy that will almost certainly fail and would provide only modest benefit even if it worked perfectly?
  • save the world (Score:3, Interesting)

    by netsfr ( 839855 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:03PM (#17832762)
    I really like the idea of saving the earth by changing habits by using CFL's (and I do use them), I just wish that the retail packaging for them wouldn't be the big plastic encasements they come in (which I think are probably just as bad to the environment, as well as a hassle to open.)

    What ever happened to efficient packaging (not $ efficiency) - I mean we are already paying 10-20x to get a CFL, give it to me in a recycled box for $.20 more. Be green all the way, not just half way.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:06PM (#17832830)
    I can't be around Fluorescent bulbs for more than 30 minutes tops. anything more gives me a migraine.

    Some of us out there can SEE the refresh rate of a fluorescent.

    I am not amused.
  • Re:I don't like this (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:06PM (#17832842)

    If you can see the flicker from a modern fluorescent bulb with electronic ballasts, then you must have super human eyes!
    Quite the opposite. According to my old physics textbook, often times perceived flickering is caused by the image fading from the retina. This happens more quickly as we get older, so rather than super-human eyes, you just have old eyes.
  • by walt-sjc ( 145127 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:11PM (#17832910)
    Yeah, while well meaning, this bill is stupid. It assumes a number of things, such as CFL bulbs that FIT a fixture... I tried to replace my yard flood lights with CFL, but the huge-assed base wouldn't fit in my fixture. I also have some motion sensors that explicitly state that they do not work with CFL. So I went Home Despot and Lowes, and found that they don't carry any motion sensors that work with CFL. Nice.

    I also tried to find dimmable CFL's. Not in my town - only on the internet for 5x the cost of a standard CFL bulb.

    When all CFL's are dimmable, and the bulbs are the same form factor as regular bulbs, or we have cost-effective LED lamps that are also dimmable and fit, then this could work. I think this bill is a few years too early however. Maybe if it was one of those "reduce over the first 5 years, eliminate in 10" it would be viable. You can encourage reduction by putting a "penalty tax" on standard bulbs, and use that money to subsidize CFL / LED.
  • Missing the point (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Attila the Bun ( 952109 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:23PM (#17833120)

    Banning incandescent lamps would have minimal effect on electricity consumption. Electrical heaters, air-conditioning, and industry all use so much more power.

    If California's leaders really think that their citizens are using too much electricity, then they should raise the tax on electricity. That, however, would require political courage.

    Banning filament lightbulbs will unfairly inconvenience some people; it will increase consumption of dangerous and rare materials; it will have little positive effect. But it'll look good, and that's what counts.

  • Re:I don't like this (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:27PM (#17833200) Homepage

    Even electronic ballast controlled (C)FL flicker at 120 Hz. This is because the voltage drops and crosses zero 120 times a second. The ballast is gating the circuit on and off at some rate, using either pulse width modulation or pulse density modulation. But at times (120 times a second) there's not enough voltage to make it light up. Hence you have flicker.

    Of course you could add a bridge rectifier to isolate the polarity and some big capacitors to smooth it out enough. But this is $15 to $20 more cost. This kind can be had, but the market premium is more like $35. So in reality, most electronic ballasts are the cheap type that don't eliminate the flicker (but they do eliminate that annoying buzz).

    Also, color index is not the only factor affecting color. That tells you if the primary components are in reasonable balance. But it doesn't tell you if the spectrum is continuous enough to enable non-stressful focus. This is hardly ever measured, anyway.

    Fluorescent lights do make it easier to produce a uniform light coverage over a table. If you're not working there continuously (the time varies by person depending on various issues with their vision ... about 30 minutes for me) they are fine. The color index is good. The color continuity sucks. And the flicker sucks. For me it's the color continuity that affects me before the flicker, though the flicker eventually will, anyway.

    I'm all for saving energy. But there are a few places, basically longer term task lighted areas, that I do need the incandescent lights and will do whatever it takes make sure I have them. I do use (C)FL lights in a lot of places. But my workshop, kitchen, and the reading lamp in the living room ... those stay incandescent (low voltage halogen is the way to go for these, which is a little more efficient than ordinary incandescent). Fluorescent simply doesn't cut it there (I do have FL in the kitchen, along with incandescent, but I just can't use the FL for very long).

    BTW, I'm not super-human. Just don't assume that what you can't see can't be seen by anyone.

  • by dkone ( 457398 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:30PM (#17833260)
    Your bend over attitude is sickening. You call the legislation extreme, yet hope it goes through, but only with provisions. Where do you stand on DRM? Why don't we just shred the remainder of the constitution?

    This is yet another erosion of my/your/our rights. What will be next? No spanking your own children? Or maybe no smoking in your own house? How about no drinking alcohol? What right is it that you hold dear where you will finally take a stand?

    For the record, I have all CF bulbs in my house. Not because some ass-wad politician is out to protect the environment/make a name for himself/receive money from the fluorescent lobby or all of the above, but because I know that they will save me money. Also because I am lazy and don't like changing light bulbs.

    Do not look to the government to spoon feed you and take care of you. Grow a set and take care of yourself.

  • by Korin43 ( 881732 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:34PM (#17833338) Homepage
    I read somewhere that environmental experts say that CFLs are better for the environment because the amount of mercury in them does less damage than the amount of pollution added to the atmosphere by power plants to provide the power difference between CFLs and incandescent lights.
  • Re:OT: Smoking Bans (Score:2, Interesting)

    by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) * on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:34PM (#17833342) Journal

    Punching affects other people too. Should professional boxing be banned?

    (That analogy is better than it may appear on first glance. Please think about it for a minute.)
  • by God'sDuck ( 837829 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:37PM (#17833394)
    It's also worth noting that fluorescents of all sorts are a very bad idea when working with fast-moving (repetitive) tools like lathes and drills, since Very Bad Things (tm) can happen if the RPM of the tool hits the same number of beats per minute as the ballast on the fluorescent light. That is to say, with the light flashing at the perfect rate, your eye will suddenly see the tool at the same point in its rotation on every rotation, instead of a motion blur, and if you're having a bad brain day, you might forget you have it turned on. Bye bye fingers.

    Fluorescents are also a pain for photographers, for the same reason -- flip your shutter at a faster frame rate than the ballast on the light and you'll see very bizarre things, like having two pictures in a row, one lit and the other not.

    anywho...not to say I'm against CFL's -- I'm not, I love them -- but there's a time and a place for "legacy" tech, and a ban would be dumb.
  • by Frangible ( 881728 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:37PM (#17833408)
    Basically, if the light is on for less than 3 minutes, it will be better and more efficiently served by an incandescent. Fluorescents have horrible turn-on efficiency, and each time they are turned on burns away some of the phosphor coating. If it's something like a hall light, where you turn it on for 2 minutes while vacuuming once a week and turn it off, the incandescent will put out more lumens with less power usage. Same thing is true with fridge lights, etc. Fluorescents MUST have a certain minimum operating time to see benefits.

    This is why letting politicians invent science isn't a good thing.

  • Re:OT: Smoking Bans (Score:3, Interesting)

    by e4g4 ( 533831 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:54PM (#17833758)
    I completely agree - what a proprietor chooses to allow in his/her establishment should be up to him or her (within the law, of course, but remember, cigarettes are legal). I've always thought, however, that instead of a smoking ban (which is driving me fucking crazy here in New York with our recent cold snap, btw), establishments that allow smoking should have mandated ventilation requirements (for the sake of the employees) in smoking sections. I imagine the impact of secondhand smoke in a *well-ventilated* room on any present non-smokers health would be next to nothing. Oh yeah, and in New York, you can't even smoke in bars.
  • by Radon360 ( 951529 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:55PM (#17833770)

    Rheostats as the primary means of dimming lights have long since gone away over a 100 years ago. The overwhelming vast majority use a low current potentiometer that sets a time in a simple RC time circuit for a SCR/Triac to switch on on circuit (light bulb). The Triac switches on when the RC circuit charges up to the threshold voltage and remains on until the AC waveform crosses the zero voltage point in its cycle, shutting off the SCR/Triac. Basically, the larger the potentiometer value, the longer the RC charge time is set to, and the shorter duration of time that the circuit is on. Check out a typical circuit diagram [wikipedia.org] on Wikipedia

    Incandescent bulbs don't care about this chopping of the AC sine wave, since they are simply heating elements that glow brightly...they can smooth out the flicker somewhat effectively. Fluorescents don't like this at all, since they are the product fluorescing gases from high voltage excitation provided by a transformer. However, dimmable CFL bulbs are available. They pretty much reconstitute the voltage through the use of a solid state ballast (instead of a simple transformer), and adjust the "drive" of the bulb excitation based on the input from the wall switch.

  • by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <fred@freds[ ]e.org ['hom' in gap]> on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @06:18PM (#17834148) Homepage
    Still not excuse not to recycle them properly IMO (but then I'm one of those weird Europeans so what do I know).
  • by Maniakes ( 216039 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @06:21PM (#17834198) Journal
    There are other lighting technologies which don't polute the RF spectrum. If this bill passes, I would expect to see a resurgance in the market for gas lights, oil lamps, and limelights [wikipedia.org].
  • A small problem (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dubculture ( 1058198 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @06:51PM (#17834652)
    My one worry here is that CFLs create a higher inductive load on the mains power, and therefore a considerable phase difference occurs for the Voltage and Current in the circuit to which the CFL is connected. Many high-tech sites (such as University Campuses, Eng Facilities) experience this problem already thanks to the PSUs supplied with most desktop computers, and this "voltage lag" can result in firms in this sector paying higher than expected power bills. (Power is sold in kWh for domestic, while industry pays for "kVAh" -- thus phase diff. results in inflated charges). One solution to this problem is for each firm to place a large capacitor somewhere near their sub-station, but this can be expensive, prohibitively so for a startup/SME firm. Was wondering if any EEng's out there would be able to fill me in on the implications of a change to CFLs to the power sector. Would there need to be a drastic change in the way power is delivered, or would it only be a problem (potentially) for the end-user? Cheers, Rich
  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @06:55PM (#17834726)
    A long time ago the air in los angeles was barely breathable.

    After a long and hard struggle by pinko, fag, granola, hippie, environmentalists the govt was convinced to put into place strict emission standards for cars, factories and other smog and pollution emitting devices.

    All throughout this struggle the business people, the republicans, the liberterians, and others of their ilk fought, mocked, yelled, screamed, bitched and moaned. They spent billions fighting the pinko, fag, granola, hippie, commie environmentalist.

    Thank god they lost. Thank god the people of california saw through their stupidity and insisted on cleaner air standards. Now the air in los angeles is breathable again.

    We are from the govt and we are here to help indeed. It worked wonderfully.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @08:37PM (#17836192)
    I see someone failed elementary chemistry. Hint: try getting your "scientific knowledge" from an actual source, rather than some envirowhacko scare site. Ingested mercury compounds in food do not "pass right through you", and inhaled mercury does not "nearly all enter the blood stream". Compounds and elements are two different things. Don't believe me? Then you must believe that putting salt on your fries is the same as inhaling chlorine gas.

    In fact, metallic mercury, while not particularly healthy, isn't nearly as hazardous as the scaremongers would have you believe. It's not "soluble in the blood stream" (sic). Mercury compounds (as would be expected to be found in food) are FAR more hazardous than elemental mercury.
  • Re:Great!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rapidweather ( 567364 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @09:31PM (#17836828) Homepage
    I replaced as many incandescent bulbs as possible in my house with these new lights.
    Sure, there are some left, but I'll go to the store and come back with more!
    You get used to them quickly, they do have a short hesitation before lighting up, and some require a warm up of a few minutes to reach full light. Most don't.
    I have one outside in the carport that comes on instantly, but it is an old style florescent, in a circle-shaped package. It really is instant, no problem.
    On one, you get about 35 watts of light (incandescent) for 7.5 watts. That one cost more, but I love it.
    Only problem is paying for all the new lights. Most people want a replacement bulb for one that has burned out, the cheapest they can get. The 7.5 wall bulb aforementioned was about $7.00. I hope it lasts forever...
    The sooner you replace those incandescent bulbs, the more you save. Can't use them on a dimmer controlled circuit, or one with an infared motion detector sensor. Probably not a good idea to replace the incandescents in the refrigerator, mine has several, in freezer also. You can try that, but some compact florescents are dimmer when cold.
    Here is a good link [lowes.com] for information on the new bulbs, and how they can save money.
    Get to the store, however, to find the less expensive bulbs in 4-packs, etc.
    That isle will have a lot of interested shoppers, so be forewarned.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @10:25PM (#17837426)
    Yeah, while well meaning, this bill is stupid. It assumes a number of things, such as CFL bulbs that FIT a fixture...

    Not necessarily. California is a huge market. When California comes up with new standards for car exhaust, car manufacturers jump through hoops to make sure their cars can be sold there.

    If California suddenly bans incandescent bulbs, there's going to be a heckuvalot of money thrown at solving the remaining problems with CFLs, because there's going to be a heckuvalot of people in the market for CFLs. Representatives proposing this are probably big users of CFLs, so they're probably well aware of the limitations.

    Sometimes setting unreasonable expectations is the only way to see what's really possible. Without Kennedy, how long do you think it would have taken to put a man on the moon? (Me neither.)

    I do, however, agree that this bill is stupid. I hate it when the government bans a specific technology. Better to simply mandate a specific efficiency for light bulbs -- if you can make an incandescent as efficient as a CFL, we shouldn't cut off that branch of technology altogether. They're confusing *means* and *ends*.
  • by bensafrickingenius ( 828123 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @11:48PM (#17838174)
    It's -2 degrees Farenheight outside right now. I'm a big fan of the CFLs, and I've installed them all over the house. Well, when it's this cold out, it takes about 2 minutes for the outdoor bulbs to turn on. Can't wait until I need to scare an intruder away with that lightning quick latency!
  • Re:No great loss... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @03:09AM (#17839756) Homepage Journal

    Physics gets in the way. We won't ever have anything that can replace incandescent bulbs. Discrete spectra will never be the same as a continuous spectrum, and the only way to generate a continuous spectrum is to heat a solid, liquid, or ultra-high pressure gas/plasma up to an extremely high temperature. Oh, yeah, and that's the definition of "incandescence."

    Basically, what this law would mean is that instead of fixing the real problem (which is that we don't have enough clean power production and don't have enough power distribution in this state because our power production and distributions is run by a bunch of greedy corporations who are pumping that money into the pockets of the rich instead of recycling it back into infrastructure), instead they pass the buck, creating new problems for other people in the process. Ever try to take photos/video of your family in a house lit by CFLs? It looks like crap.

    For that matter, can you imagine what a ban on incandescent bulbs would do to Hollywood? They'd have to move to another state. No, really. They would have to move to another state. While Videssence does make some special floods that are fluorescent (with a much larger number of peaks), my recollection is that they still don't produce colors as vibrant as old-fashioned halogens do. IIRC, the light also doesn't carry as far, so you need more of them, closer to the talent. Works fine for a news set where you can hang them three feet above the always-sitting anchors... not so much for a movie set.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see laws requiring manufacturers to come up with solutions that reduce power consumption for electrical appliances and electronics... but mandating the replacement of incandescent bulbs with those damn CFLs is NOT the right way to do it. That's the way to make every remotely sane person order incandescent bulbs by mail order and flip a big bird in the direction of Sacramento, thus resulting in MORE greenhouse gasses from the extra trucking.... So much for their "big savings."

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis