Archive for May 2011
New Technology light bulbs, the LED (Light Emitting Diode), are starting to make some headway:
Two leading makers of lighting products are showcasing LED bulbs that are bright enough to replace energy-guzzling 100-watt light bulbs set to disappear from stores in January.
There is, at this time, a little bit of a drawback, which will make things a bit tricky:
The new bulbs will also be expensive — about $50 each — so the development may not prevent consumers from hoarding traditional bulbs.
That last line is certainly true; in my garage there is a whole load of 100w and 75w ‘regular’ bulbs, and I am planning on getting many more before I can’t.
Now, contrary to what it may seem, I am not against this sort of technology. I’ve actually been using LED lights, in the form of pen lights and flashlights and such, for approximately twelve years. They come in quite handy in my line of work, being an automotive mechanic where there are tight quarters and dark crevasses to look in. Incandescent “trouble lights” are bad news; the heat generated from a 100w bulb, if there is leaking gasoline, can light up your day very quickly. And burn you when you try to turn it to be able to see better.
As the article states, having multiple LEDs has been the problem, and that is also true in my experience with the flashlights. A single element will last much longer than those with multiple. Several of the (up to) 9 LED units I’ve had have very quickly started to malfunction; a couple of them don’t light up, then a few more, eventually, the light is useless. The weak point seems to be the circuit board they are mounted on. On the other hand, the single units hold up much longer; weak points end up being the connections from the battery, or the switch itself.
But, as with all new technology, the cost of those has come down dramatically. Originally, I recall paying upwards of $25 or $30 for the AAAA-cell pen lights. Very rugged, pretty reliable, but the cost of replacement and the batteries themselves often frustrated me. Other styles, using more standard batteries have hit the market in droves, to varying success, but I find the cheaper the cost, the quicker they quit working, requiring me to get another one. Yes, I’m hard on them, dropping them on concrete, slamming a car hood on them, etc.
I’ve stated, though, I will never purchase another compact florescent. They don’t work good, there are hazardous materials in them, and I just plain don’t like them. Early on, we purchased several of these, and they do not last as long as advertised, and of course do not make good light.
Recently, we did purchase a couple of LED bulbs, though not of the style listed in the article I link. These seemed more suited for accent lighting, things like that, but the cost was comparable to a CFL. One of them is installed in our attached garage ceiling fixture. We spend a lot of time outdoors, and will sometimes make multiple trips in and out through the garage. The bulb itself was rated at 80 Lumens (I think). In my estimation it seems to be about the equivalent of a standard 40-watt bulb. Not enough to perform detailed tasks, or reading (especially with the high ceiling the fixture is located in), but very much enough to walk your way around the car, shelves, and the like so as to not trip.
As more of these hit the market, the options will increase, production costs will drop, and competition will bring down the end-user prices. Just think, a plasma television set used to cost upwards of $10,000; now, LCD flat screens can be less than 1/20th of that. I don’t recall any government mandate (aside from forcing television signals to new frequencies and digital broadcasts, but that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax) forcing consumers to give up their CRT sets the way they are with light bulbs.
I am totally in favor of new technology, and yes, if you want to call it that, “green” technology. And device or appliance that uses less energy and/or is more reliable is almost never a bad thing; cheaper electric bills each month, less often replacement of old or broken units, leads to greater wealth for everyone. My issue is the mandates.
Plain and simple, if people like a product, they will buy it. The more it is used, the cheaper it becomes for everyone as industry moves to satisfy a market desire and turn a profit. A good product does not need the government to step in and force everyone to choose between cheap poison and high-priced alternatives, leaving a perfectly reliable, safe, cheap, and plentiful product illegal for one to purchase or use. Especially in the name of phony baloney hoaky-malarky like “global warming.”
So Washington, please quit trying to force your choices (likely, connected with campaign donations or promises of future employment) on the rest of us. We are smart enough to choose options that work for us, and the market will choose the winners and losers, not you.
In the continuing quest towards reaching a “Tone Tone” in our discourse, and move away from the “Politics of Fear,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius offers her gesture:
She continued, “If you run out of the government voucher and then you run out of your own money, you’re left to scrape together charity care, go without care, die sooner. There really aren’t a lot of options.”
I guess it’s a step forward; after all, the HHS Kitty apparently didn’t bring up that they would be kicked into the street and forced to eat dog food.
This revolves around the Ryan Budget plan, which tries to get a handle on the rising costs of the Medicare program. As I understand it, instead of actually having the government pay for your medical costs, the ‘voucher’ in question would be given to the person to shop for their own private insurance. As I recall, this is similar to how the “Medicare Advantage” program worked, and from what I’d seen, most were happy with it.
Maybe that won’t work for everyone, but something must be done. The current system can not be sustained in any meaningful form. Even now, fewer and fewer medical practitioners are accepting any Medicare patients, as more and more people move into that system. And that doesn’t even mention the fact the system is bankrupt.
So go ahead, try to scare everyone, get them to vote for you, and then see what happens when the crumbs you end up handing out are not enough.
It appears that Bin Laden was garbage and classless to the end:
(Reuters) – Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden tried to hide behind women as U.S. special forces attacked his compound in Pakistan Monday and one died being used as a human shield, the White House said.
Wonder how those 72 virgins will like that little bit of news?
Fast and furious since about 10pm last night, news comes out about our Navy SEALS special forces conducting a raid and finally nailing Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of September 11th and other deadly attacks, at a safehouse in Pakistan.
From what I’m gathering from various stories this morning, this was a many year process to finally get there. Apparently, one of Bin Laden’s trusted contacts was an anonymous courier, that we finally learned about after conducting interrogations at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. And apparently, no one knew this man’s real name until 2007, that’s how hidden and careful they were. But it was the one little, almost insignificant clue that eventually uncovered more, until it led to the safehouse where he was found and put out of our misery.
Let me be the first to admit, I was apparently wrong; I had honestly believed that Bin Laden was buried under a mountain in Tora Bora, long dead. The Al Qaida leadership, in my thinking, was just using old tapes, acting in his name, letting recruits and others believe the admired leader was still behind them. And for our part, we played along; letting everyone think he was still consuming oxygen worked for us better than letting them hold him up as a martyr to encourage others to join the fight against the Great Satan.
So now, he’s gone. But as the President said last night, this is not the end of it; there are many others ready and willing to move up into his place.
Sigh. And now, comes the inevitable speculation on political ramifications.
As anyone who reads this know, I’m no fan of Obama. On this instance, I will applaud the President for taking the intelligence briefings, listening to advice, and giving the proper orders that led us to this moment. Credit where credit is due. Salute!
I’m also thinking the timing actually leads to a little credibility, to anyone who wants to doubt, or thinks this may have been staged for re-election chops. The election is actually too far out, and we all have been far enough removed from September 11th in the first place (time-wise, I mean) for this to have a significant effect on the electorate.
This will help to bolster the President, for the short term absolutely. As it should; when a President stands up for America, and does the right thing, no matter who it is, we should stand behind him as one people. While many people and events took part to make this happen, and it was President Bush who actually started this ball rolling, I will credit Obama for picking up that ball and following through.
So let’s take a day or two, put aside our regular sniping back and forth, and raise a glass to everyone who made this come out the way it did. President Obama, Bush, Cabinet members, intelligence officers, and all the men and women in uniform who stand up to keep us all safe from monsters like Bin Laden. Here’s to all of you!
This won’t change my mind, however about voting for him next year.