Although compact fluorescent bulbs have migrated solidly into the mainstream, they are not without controversy. Although significantly more efficient and longer-lasting than their incandescent equivalents, they do contain trace amounts of mercury, which have brought them under criticism by environmentalists and climate skeptics alike.
The "next big thing" has been LED lightbulbs, but until recently, it seemed it would be many years in the future until they became commercially viable for the majority of consumers.
But a breakthrough at Cambridge University in the U.K., led by Professor Colin Humphreys, may finally bring LED bulbs into the mainstream. The most significant breakthrough was the medium in which the LEDs themselves are made from gallium nitride on silicon wafers, rather than the more commonplace (and much more expensive) sapphire wafers. More...
The researchers claim a bulb made from these new LEDs would only cost about $3.00, putting it in price parity with most CFLs on the market today. It would have a 100,000 hour lifespan (nearly 12 years if left on continuously).
Sure, if you're really determined, you can buy an LED screw-base light bulb today, but you'll pay anywhere from $40-100.
As an aside, I also found an interview online with Professor Humphreys from a few years ago, and found out that he's a Christian! Who says you can't be on the cutting edge of science and innovation and be a believer?
Already there's chatter against LEDs because they don't fit into our current, frequent-replacement consumeristic mentality. Certainly, the increased longevity and lower replacement frequency will have to be factored into the overall business plan. But even at $5-7, I would be more than willing to give them a shot. Even at $10, I would be willing to buy a few to try out at home.
What do you think? Are LEDs the next consumer lighting revolution, or still a ways off on the horizon before becoming a reality?
Well, I've been bloviating for the better part of two weeks now. I hope you've found my posts interesting and thought-provoking. I've gotten some very thoughtful comments on some of my posts, and I want to extend my appreciation to those of you that have have joined me here on the ground floor, while I'm still a wobbly newbie to the world of blogging.
So I'd like to open it up and get a better idea of who you are, the Crimson Conservative visitor. I invite you to ask me anything, or make any suggestions for what you'd like to see. However, much like many other offers, there is a "catch" if you will. More...
I will not reveal my personal identity...yet. It's not for the reasons you might think. It's not because I'm a paranoid conspiracy theorist, or I'm ashamed of my views. Rather, I want to avoid any appearance of impropriety or conflict with my "day job" which deals with online content management. Although in a different subject area, I wish to remain anonymous as long as I'm employed there.
You can contact me in two ways. If you wish to contact me privately, click on the "Contact Me" link, and write your query to me there. Also, feel free to simply leave a comment at the end of this post with your question. Although I will stick to my title in allowing questions about anything (with the exception of the above example), any question regarding my opinion on current events, political issues, religious beliefs, favorite foods, etc., is fair game. Also, as noted, suggestions for topics you'd like to see me blog about are welcomed.
The title of Michael Moore's latest film is "Capitalism, A Love Story." If you've followed any of Moore's past works, I don't need to tell you the title is dripping with sarcasm.
I have not seen the film, nor any of Moore's past works, for that matter. For that matter, Michael Moore is tangential to the subject of this blog aside from his assertion that capitalism is evil. Scott Cendrowski, reporter for Money magazine, interviewed the controversial liberal filmmaker about the background of the film, and how for the first time publicly, Moore brought up his personal faith as a significant factor in his personal philosophy.
Interestingly, according to Moore, this film was not a reaction to the financial meltdown of 2008, but was in the planning stages well before the crisis. If you want to read the entire interview, please click on the link above.
Overall, in reading the interview I didn't find a great deal of surprises about Moore's philosophy, politics or agenda. He remains at his core a reactionary, knee-jerk, bleeding-heart liberal standing up for the little guy, and wanting to stick it to "the Man." More...
I'd like to focus on the concept that capitalism as an economic system is evil. I do not believe that assertion, for the simple fact that by and large, I see capitalism itself as a machine, much like a computer. Using the well-worn programmer's axiom "Garbage In, Garbage Out" as an example, I believe the system will yield results relatively consistent with the manner in which it's used. Now, I'm not saying that the results of economic policies and practices are always predictable and reliable. There are thousands of economic departments, doctoral candidates and professors that have been studying economics for centuries, and each of them has a unique view and philosophy on the nature of markets.
To put my personal belief about the nature of markets simply, I believe that excessive leverage and deficit spending, over an extended period, is a recipe for disaster. Knowing full well that our nation has been on this course in regard to federal spending for many decades, I'm bracing myself for what I feel is an inevitable day of reckoning.
I also believe lack of accountability, whether at the level of corporate governance or personal finance, breeds corruption and irresponsibility. An excellent example of which was the subprime mortgage meltdown in which people believed they could perpetually use their home's seemingly ever-rising equity as an ATM machine. Even though historical trends showed the trajectory to be unsustainable.
Not that I want to uphold myself as a great sage of financial markets, but I saw the mortgage market meltdown coming a long ways off. For no other reason that as an average working Joe, making an average working salary, there was no way I could ever hope to afford a home at the inflated prices that were the norm in the middle of this decade. Now, there were plenty of lenders willing to apply exotic, convoluted metrics to make a loan available, none of which I was comfortable with.
Were there a lot of characters involved in some way with the current crisis that consciously and willingly participated in questionable or even overtly illegal activities? Absolutely. But the point I want to end with is that it was fallible human actions and motivations that caused the outcome of the current crisis, for the most part. Did some of these people believe they were doing the right thing?
Certainly in the case of the relaxation of lending standards by congressman Barney Frank and the Clinton administration, the noble intentions of expanding the dream of home ownership to less privileged means had some unintended consequences. So what in the end was more evil? Loosening lending standards to allow those with less money and less sophisticated knowledge and understanding of finance to be approved for loans they likely could not afford? Or denying them that "right" to protect the interests of their investors, shareholders, and responsible homeowners who scrimped, saved and toiled to be able to afford a house the conventional way?
In my introductory blog post, I hinted at what what makes me "crimson." I am by and large conservative, socially, politically and fiscally. The one significant drop of "blue" in my philosophy and interest is the environment. As noted, I don't drive a Prius plastered with activist bumper stickers, and my house isn't a self-sustaining, solar-powered bio-orb. But I do recycle, turn the air off when I leave the house, and have CFLs through most of the house.
I follow developments in environmental technologies, and keep an open mind to all emerging trends. I am critical of some that I believe are inefficient or ineffective, such as corn ethanol, and supportive of others that I believe could help our national security through energy independence, such as coal gasification and liquefaction, and increased use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. More...
But the unfortunate tone I see in a lot of pro-environment media, whether broadcast, print, or online, is an underlying tone of guilt as motivation to do good. Perhaps the environmental activists believe this is an effective motivator. And it certainly has gained plenty of willing allies on the political left.
The consequences of non-compliance, if we are to believe our leafy lefty compatriots, is widespread and imminent coastal flooding, polar bears dying untimely deaths on breakaway icebergs, droughts of epic proportions, and indigenous tribes being plowed under the tracks of bulldozers in the Amazon. I could go on and on with clichés of the devotees of radical environmentalism, but you get the point.
Although some have done an admirable job of putting a cheerful face on the environmental movement (I'm personally a fan of Renovation Nation with Steve Thomas), others continue to hammer the hackneyed stereotypes to goad us into giving up our T-bone steaks, V-8 powered Camaros and Mustangs, motorhomes, and by extension, most modern conveniences and luxury items.
Now, am I saying everyone should drive a musclecar, SUV or pickup, eat steak seven days a week, and terrorize the desert dunes in our ATVs? Far from it. I think people should enjoy their lives as much as possible. I also believe that many people, when presented with a demonstrably better alternative to the products, practices or services they currently use, are willing to change.
I'd like to hear from you. Have you made any changes in your purchasing decisions or lifestyle through learning about more responsible alternatives? What made the difference for you between dismissing it as a fad, and adopting it into your routine?
Behind the Orange Curtain, Left Coast, United States
I grew up in the liberal hotbed of the San Francisco Bay Area and currently reside in the Left Coast conservative enclave of Orange County.
I hold a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's in communications, both from universities in the South. I enjoy Korean BBQ as well as Southern BBQ. I'm more conservative than Republican, more libertarian than liberal.