Tech Tuesday - An Incandescent Truth

IT-StoplightThe other day, I was reading about a lawsuit that shows the perils of mucking with things in the name of being "green".

The tragic bit – Person A died when Person B ran a stop sign and T-Boned them.  It had been snowing, and snow had obscured the red light but part of the left turn arrow was showing, so B thought they had the green light.  [I could look this up and give you the facts, and a link and all that, but seriously, would you read it?  No.  So let's both pretend I did the leg work.  If you really care, I read the story in the Chicago Tribune.

See, it turns out, that to save some money on electricity, the city replace the horribly inefficient incandescent bulbs in the street lights with the energy efficient LEDs.  And they don't plan to switch back, because the new bulbs last longer* and cost so much less to operate.

You know how those incandescent bulbs waste electricity, right?  By generating HEAT instead of producing LIGHT.  Heat that, for argument's sake, would melt snow that blew on them.

Oops.  Hadn't thought of that.

And that got me thinking.  With the incandescent bulb taking the place of baby seal clubbers on the environmentalists hit list, what else isn't going to work right?

4 – The Creepy Crawlers Bug Maker Oven

Most of you don't remember this toy.  You had goo that you put in a tray and turned it into bug and worms.  My nephew had one.  I think it was just a boy version of the next toy.

3 – The Easy Bake OvenIT-EZBAKE

How long do you think it will take to bake your miniature morsels now on the bluish glow of that CFL bulb, little Missy?

Might as well start using mommy's blow dryer.

2 – The Lava Lamp

Ah, mesmerizing mass of molten material, your days are numbered, too.  Those fake "glitter lamps" are just not up to the job.

For the lava lamp to live on, they may need to separate the heating element from the light source.

I suggest LASERS!



1 – The Bright Idea

Sorry, bright idea.  You are doomed.  The glowing incandescent bulb that signals the instantaneous flash of inspiration will be no more.

Nope, it will be replaced by a dim glow that slowly warms up to full understanding.  Eventually.



* Please note, that while wrote this, TWO incandescent recessed lights in my ceiling burned out.  Off to Home Despot to get some CFLs.


wigsf said...

The cfls look like curly fries, and that just makes me want to go to Arbys and have some curly fries. Then that makes me sing "bacon cheddar curly fries" which only makes me very very hungry. So then I reach over to my easy bake oven and find that the cfl bulb in there hasn't cooked my cupcake goo. Sure, cupcake goo is edible, but not as edible as an actual cupcake.

Cora said...

WAIT-- first things first! Look at THAT! You're up to 100 followers, Mister! Take a bow!!

*applauding and jumping around excitedly*

Whereas I woke up to find I lost ANOTHER one. It's like my blog joined the Biggest Loser or something.

*sad sigh*


They were doing a story about this on GMA. The solution they're cooking up is to put these slanted plastic covers over the red lights so snow will have a harder time sticking. As for green and yellow lights, you're on your own.

And you're right, the lightbulb moment is DOOMED. Somehow that doesn't bode well, does it?

Jan @ Struck by Serendipity said...

Don't knock glitter lamps. I LOVED glitter lamps. In fact, if the bulb in my glitter lamp wasn't burnt out I still might be using it. Maybe.

JenJen said...

what bothers me about the LED lights is twofold:
One. They always look blue. Even when they're "white" and when you mix them on your holiday tree, well, it hurts your eyes till they bleed.
Two. It seems like they need to warm up to get to full light.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

If they start making laser-operated lava lamps, I will buy seven.

Anonymous said...

the new bulbs last longer* and cost so much less to operate...Nice blog..

Led Lighting

SkylersDad said...

I replaced the light on my back porch with a new CFL. Now that it is really cold in the dead of winter, it wont put out any light until it has been on for about 10 minutes. Sorry, I don't plan on my trips out the back that far in advance.

Sassy Britches said...

There's gotta be a better way! I have many of those new bulbs at my place. Getting past the I-want-bright-lights-immediately thing, it's kind of scary when things go "bump" in the night (TWSS) and you try to turn on the light to see what's going on and BAM! You're a goner because the bad guys lurked in the shadows even after the light came on.

Anonymous said...

As a long time lurker, I need to let you know that those bulbs take forever to "warm" up and do not put off the same bright light of their "evil" cousins.

I have some in the house and now that I know the hazmat cleanup you will have to do if one accidentally breaks, am not really willing to bring in another one.

J.J. in L.A. said...

We have a cfl in the light fixture above the kitchen table...and we have to turn on the gooseneck lamp that it ON the kitchen table because we can't see a damn thing without it.

Scope said...

wigsf - I think there's a Dunkin Donuts next to the Arby's.

Cora - Or, they could sacrifice a little efficiency, and just use standard bulbs in the reds? No, we need to over engineer this. Okay, how about wiper blades like those fancy high end cars.

Jan - You young whippersnappers and your instant gratification glitter lamps. We had to wait 45 minutes for our Lava Lamps to heat up. AND WE LIKED IT!

JenJen – Yeah, the "white" LEDs do not currently produce a very "warm" (yellow) light.

iNDefatigable mjenks – About everything is better with lasers.

Ian – Yes, they do last longer, in general. My point is that they are not the 100% pure win that people think they are. Not that they are bad, but people need to know their tradeoffs.

SkylersDad – Honestly? On a rarely used light like that, you may get so little savings in the winter that you may want to swap out for a regular bulb in the winter.

Sassy Britches – I think you need to invest in new locks, not new lights.

Anonymous – I do use the long warm-up to my advantage. I use them in the vanity lights above the bathroom mirror. That way in the middle of the night, you don't get the blinding BLAZE! Of light right away, blinding you with their punishing glare.

And mercury is only a hazard for young folks. When I was in middle school, they let us play with liquid mercury in science class. But seriously, I've done my research, and am more worried about electroshock changing the bulbs than I am what happens if one breaks. Just don't run the vacuum cleaner.

J.J. – Do you have the right sized bulb? Is it a "15 = 60 watt" bulb? I like the "25 = 75 watt" ones for single bulb uses.