We are the 99%

July 19, 2011

Not Sure What To Make Of This

From Sunday's Trib:
PENNED BY POLTERGEISTS? Democrat U.S. Reps. Mike Doyle of Forest Hills and Jason Altmire of McCandless should consider consulting a specialist in paranormal activity.

Their offices appear to have been invaded by ghost writers.

Both supposedly penned recent opinion pieces defending the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The controversial law effectively bans Thomas Edison's incandescent light bulb as we've known it in favor of supposedly more efficient but also more expensive and hazardous alternatives, namely the compact fluorescent light bulb.

The congressmen's offerings are so similar -- nearly word for word in spots -- that it has us highly suspicious that the two men regurgitated Democrat talking points for their op-ed submissions. We just thought we'd shed some light on the matter.
The only problem?

I can't find Congressman Altmire's op-ed defending Energy Independence and Security Act. I've googled:
  • Atmire "Light bulb"
  • Altmire "Energy Independence and Security Act"
  • Altmire CFL
And couldn't find anything. Nothing. Nada. The null set. That doesn't mean it's not out there, of course. Just that I couldn't find it. It's a mystery. Usually the trails to the sources the braintrust uses are quite easy to follow; Heritage Foundation, AEI, Washington Times and so on. But none of my usual tricks worked this time. And I can't imagine even the Trib making something like this up.

If you can find it, please drop me an email with the link. I want to see how similar they are. Or if you can explain what the Tribune-Review is doing here, editorializing on something no one else can see, drop me an email on that, too.

That being said, we'll talk about CFLs, Thomas Edison, and Mike Doyle's easily found opinion piece for a bit. Here's the trib:
Both supposedly penned recent opinion pieces defending the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The controversial law effectively bans Thomas Edison's incandescent light bulb as we've known it in favor of supposedly more efficient but also more expensive and hazardous alternatives, namely the compact fluorescent light bulb.
They make three points here:
  • The CFL bulb's efficiency is questioned
  • The CFL bulb is more expensive
  • The CFL bulb is more hazardous
The Michigan DEQ has a page up describing the savings achieved by switching from an incandescent to a CFL. Over the course of the life of the CFL bulb the savings are substantial. That takes care of bullets one and two. What about the third? How hazardous is the CFL bulb?

Luckily, there's been work on that, too. From a page called Three CFL Myths Busted:
Myth: Compact fluorescent bulbs are a major safety hazard because they contain mercury.

Fact: Yes, it's true that CFLs contain tiny amounts of mercury, and if a bulb breaks you will be exposed to the neurotoxin. But, just how dangerous is a broken bulb? Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory set out to answer that question. They compared how much exposure you'd get from breathing in the amount of mercury released from a broken CFL bulb to how much mercury you'd take in from eating Albacore tuna.

If you do a common sense job of cleaning up (open the windows, clean up, and remove the debris), then your mercury exposure would be the equivalent of taking a tiny nibble of tuna, according to Francis Rubinstein, a staff scientist at Berkeley Lab. What if you did the worst job possible, say closed all the doors and smashed the bulb with a hammer? It's still no big deal, says Rubinstein, who points out that it would be the equivalent of eating one can of tuna.
Hmm - at worst it's the mercury equivalent of eating one can of tuna? Only ONE CAN? AND it saves money?

We already know The Trib's not really interested in facts that conflict with their politics, but I would have thought that the Trib would be in favor of saving money.

I guess not.

Again, if you have any info as to the whereabouts of the Altmire editorial please drop me an email. I'd love to see it.

2 comments:

Ol' Froth said...

Pretty sure the whale oil promoters made the same arguments against the incandescent bulb that the Trib makes against CFL's.

EdHeath said...

I remember Bill Green on the old Off Q saying that CFL's are ten times as expensive as incandescents and if you break a CFL you have to run out of the house.

In my opinion LED's are not yet economical. As far as I can tell they are supposed to last longer than CFLs (I am not sure how much longer), but the efficiency of LED's relative to the price means (to me) that in order to get an LED bulb that is as bright as a CFL, you need to spend thirty or forty dollars. Never the less, I have an LED lamp (with 20 little LED's using around three and a half watts) above my computer's keyboard at home, and a couple of LED's bulbs I sometimes use.

But CFL's are obviously more efficient than incandescent bulbs. I believe that if you live in an area where your electricity is generated through burning coal (as I believe we all do), then using CFL's actually causes less mercury to be released into the atmosphere because they use some much less electricity. I am not sure why the Trib wants its readers to have less money it their pockets.