AEIR: It’s Lightbulb Liberation Day

“As a huge fan of Ayn Rand’s short novel Anthem, the liberation of the light bulb means so much to me.”

Someone asked me the other day what personal freedoms I had lost. I didn’t have a list at hand, so I responded by explaining how the loss of liberty has translated in my life into a specific loss of wealth. I could just as well have explained that I lost the personal freedom to use the perfectly good lightbulbs of my choosing.

It literally amounts to the same thing, as the link details.

14 thoughts on “AEIR: It’s Lightbulb Liberation Day

  1. Regulations can been a pain in the rear, or the wallet, no doubt. The link was complaining about the quality of light. But the bulbs were the CFL’s in 2007 and they were a stepping stone. They did make a warm white, but still a bit ungainly. LED’s, however, have come a long way fast. They are available in a broad range of light temperatures as well as a range of colors. They last for decades and put out little heat.

    To digress a bit. I wonder how your link feels about cars. In 1966 we had 5.5 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. That did not include the many times more injured, crippled and mangled for life.

    About that same time Ralph Nader came out with his expose of “Unsafe at any Speed”. That started the pressure by government to push the most powerful industry we had to actually make safer cars. They didn’t want to. They balked, cried and whined…and lobbied hard to avoid “unaffordable” safety features. Nader was a pariah.

    Today, with many more cars on the road and crumbling roads and bridges, the rate is a bit over 1 death per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

    Bottom line, industries won’t budge for safety or environment unless they are encouraged by regulations.

    Yes, some regulations are imperfect. So are people. Go figure.

    But in our system of governance, we vote for regulations that affect our lives. And companies that want the benefit of our marketplace need to adhere to them. Or go elsewhere to sell dangerous products.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. As someone who has a boat (yacht to some), I can tell you of the deficiency of incandescent bulbs. Thank you Thomas Edison for the leg up, but we’ve got this now.

    Just today, I replaced my LAST three incandescent bulbs — my running lights — 75watts of draw replaced by 9watts of LED draw producing 30% more light. There used to be nearly 30 incandescent lights below at 8 watts each, they’ve been replaced by LEDs at 2 watts each.

    As for a loss of wealth, my 3 8A8D AGM batteries are rated at only a few hundred discharges. They cost $2400 to replace.

    You do the math, Ayn Rand couldn’t, and for a Russian, that’s odd.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We’re 100% LED at the Compound, and I have no problem with the quality of light. When we had to go to the generator after the storm for a few hours, the load was very low to keep the lights on.

      But the point is that the government forced the horrible CFLs on us, but it was the marketplace that drove them off the market with the superior LEDs.


      1. There’s an old Russian proverb of a worker on his way to the factory trudging through the snow coming on a songbird frozen in the snow.

        He picked the bird up and held him in his hands where the warmth began to revive the sad creature.

        Knowing that bringing the bird to work could mean the gulags for him and death for the bird, the worker found a solution when he saw steaming rising from a cow pie in a field. He pushed the bird in deep.

        After a while the bird, almost completely revived, began to sing. A fox, hearing the song, snatched the bird from the pile for a quick meal.

        Moral: The guy who puts you in the deep dark ain’t always bad, and the guy who pulls you from the deep dark ain’t always good, but if you find yourself in deep shit, don’t sing.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Wrong moral

          The correct lesson to take is that a government that would imprison you for rescuing a freezing bird needs to be put down, and we should always retain the means to do so.


          1. Two words: Salk and vaccine.
            Oh wait, no, the Libertarian view is that protecting my kid is no reason to vaccinate yours too.

            BTW, check out the street and overhead view of the corner where the Weather Channel guy was standing. That two-story marina building will cast a wind shadow of 3x to 10x its height. In 40 knots of wind that’s 60 feet. That’s why those two people were having no trouble walking.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. The Salk Vaccine’s development was funded privately by the charitable organization “The March of Dimes.” It was a very libertarian project.

            Libertarians are not anti-vaxers. We do the right thing without the need for government to force it on us. Few libertarians are opposed to requiring vaccination to attend government schools. though we oppose government schools. I would prefer to send my grandchildren to private schools, but I would choose one that required vaccination against diseases that can be spread in the classroom to attend.


          3. “We do the right thing”

            While “some” of the “we” you reference may do what your version of the “right thing” is others may not (or may just have a different version of what’s “right”).

            Either case is unacceptable when it comes to the health of children.

            Ergo the need for sensible/reasonable Governmental intervention.

            Liked by 3 people

      2. Close, but not a WEO, Doc.

        The Act merely called for phasing out incandescent bulbs by wattage.

        It was your vaulted marketplace, knowing that efficiency existed in both CFLs and LEDs that made the choice to foist the little pig tails on the public. They did this because they were more easily produced, even knowing that the quality of the light (especially the low frequency bulbs) were irritating, and gases contained toxins.

        Alas, caught between the devil and the deep blue, the bulb manufacturers decided to blame the government and switch course.

        Sadly, the government always does a poor job of explaining it’s actions and allows the idiots free rein at misinformation, like, oh say, Obamacare.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Gun control and Obamacare both sneak into an LED chat?

          Hopefully the market will do its job and the LED manufacturers will improve their product’s dim-ability capability. I also love the fact that they put less strain on my generators when i have run them down in hurricane alley.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Light bulbs, minor problem. I will leave y’all with something else on which to chew, something to which I am not excited to see coming, but after the initial pain will be a major improvement.

    Those 3 8A8Ds (above) pack 8.5KW of storage. In 10 years (my guessitimate aka SWAG) we will no longer be able to obtain lead-based batteries. They will be replaced in cars with fast capacitors, and in places like my boat with Lion batteries. If you have a 5-year old car at that time, this conversion will probably cost you $500 when it comes time to replace the battery.

    For me this will mean a complete rewiring of the 12v supply, inverting, and charging systems. It’s gonna hurt, probably to the tune of $6 to $8K, although $10K isn’t out of the question.

    The upside will result in a single charging controller (I can’t imagine where that will have to go) and upwards of 12KW of storage with a shorter charge cycle and faster delivery.

    Sailing — “Put on all your clothes, step into a cold shower, and tear up $100 bills”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As I work for a small lighting supply house, for those of you who would like to return to inefficient, heat producing incandescent lights, especially the most common, 60 Watt version: Lotsa luck. I have ZERO suppliers that even carry them. For those who like/need 100 watt bulbs, I got you covered, both clear and frosted.

    Jimmie, the dimmability of LED’s has improved. Stop by my place of employment on Cleveland St, and I’ll show you.

    There are LED replacements for almost every light, including fluorescents that work with or without a ballast (transformer to some). Even the long 8 foot (and longer or shorter) T12 sign bulbs have high efficiency LED replacements that require no $95-150 dollar sign bulb ballasts. Energy savings in the 50-60% range. Upfront costs scare people off, but a customer converted all of his 4 foot interior fixtures in a 20,000 sq ft store and paid off that investment in about 10 months.

    Even my electric bill at home dropped by $30/month when I changed out fluorescent, incandescent, and “pig tail” CFLs for LED’s. And still have some bulbs I am waiting to burn out to replace them. It is worth the investment for the long term savings, lower electric bills, lower cooling bills (a nice side effect to heat producing bulbs), and environmental safety.


  5. From the first paragraph of the article: “It’s hard to find them in a store, in which case: thank goodness for Amazon! ”

    If you type in the Amazon search block 60A19, all that comes up is LED replacements. If you add “/CL” 4 actual 60 watt clear incandescents. And the first item is listed as “Currently unavailable”. The others range from $2.08 to $3.08 PER BULB. When they were available, we charged $1/bulb.

    LED replacements use anywhere form 7-9 watts of energy, put out virtually no heat compared to incandescents (or even CFLs), last longer and are more efficient all the way around. And they cost about $3.09 per. Do the math. Just sayin’.


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