27 thoughts on “They’re Not Light Bulbs”

  1. Take a look at the comments there – a third of the responders didn’t get the joke. The “Mother Nature Network” indeed.

  2. How did we manage to have major industrial countries be run by idiots?

    I know you didn’t mean it this way, Rand, but this statement when made by other people is part of the problem. It contains the implicit assumption that it is possible, even straightforward, to “run” a major industrial country — i.e. direct its operations from the top down — and that the only real problem is finding non-idiots to do so.

    As our friend Hayek would say, this delusion lies at the root of most of the evil that infects fascism, communism, and all the other religions of the Holy And Most Good State.

    The truth seems to be that no one, and no small group of humans, is nearly smart enough to run a major industrial country, and the attempt to do so has always met with disaster. That is, it’s not that idiots are running our country, it’s that any attempt to “run” it — to have “smart people” at the top forcibly substituting their judgment for the judgment of the millions of us on the ground — is inherently idiotic, like trying to teach your dog to be your chauffeur.

    The solution is simple: stop “running” things. Stop trying to “fix” the economy. Stop trying to solve the problems of stupidity and bad luck. Delegate authority, if you will, down to the individual on the scene, making decisions for his own life, with his own money, taking all the risks and reaping all the rewards himself. To the extent you wish to help him make the right decisions, restrict your national involvement to informing him better.

  3. Heat Balls are not a joke.

    I have used a Heat Ball (incandescent lamp) in proximity to a kitchen sink to allow a lower standby setting of the central heat of a vacant house. I guess the gummint wants me to dial up the standby heat setting or drain and anti-freeze all the plumbing and risk cold damage to the house contents.

    Paul, someone will say, should there be an exception made for you, just because you use an incandescent bulb as a spot-space heater? Well, yes.

    That is the nature of liberty, that you give people the freedom to use a mix of incandescent and CFL bulbs as they see fit, provided people are willing to pay the electric bill. I am a cheapskate and I have almost 100% CFL lighting and I like it — oh, did I tell you, I have incandescent bulbs in three energy saving motion-detector fixtures (one entry way outside, one entry way inside, one in the garage) because those fixtures have warnings not to use CFL bulbs?

    Paul, should there be an exception made only for you because 1) you use an incandescent as a mini space heater and 2) you use incandescents in the older-style motion detectors, purchased years before energy saving was in fashion, that don’t work with CFLs? Certainly yes, and even if I was “wasting” electricity by using them for ordinary bulbs. It is about liberty, about deciding what kind of lighting suits me and then paying the electric bill out of my own pocket.

  4. “it’s not that idiots are running our country”

    They’re trying to run in into the ground. Or appear to be succeeding at this in their own despite.

  5. I guess the gummint wants me to dial up the standby heat setting or drain and anti-freeze all the plumbing and risk cold damage to the house contents.

    Or to paint the heat ball black.

  6. In support of Carl’s excellent post above, I also add that the skills that one needs to be elected to policial office often have nothing to do with actually performing the job. There’s also the sad fact that the elected officials are vastly outnumbered by the unelected, unaccountable, and unfireable bureaucrats who actually run the government. What qualifies them for the jobs they hold?

  7. Paul,

    Can I have you help me get an exception written in for people like me who have dimmers in most of their lighting fixtures?

    As to the mini-space-heater issue, as I commented on that article’s comment section, my ex’s bathroom lighting consisted of 4 clear-glass 100W bulbs above the sink, ostensibly for makeup application (even though I mentioned that it’s more essential to have lights at face level to get even lighting on each side of the face and be able to see without shadows). I couldn’t shave without a visor to block the excessive lighting, and getting close to the mirror meant practically baking the top of my head with the heat from those things…

  8. What impressed me was that the author of the post did a (bad) Google translation of the German website rather than figuring out that clicking on the British flag in the corner took you to the English version (http://heatball.de/en/).

    I guess they didn’t teach that in Critical Theory, or whatever.

  9. Rand, I’ve got to go with Carl on this one. Leaving out the economy, what makes anyone think they can run the rest of it? …and how do you leave out the economy anyway?

  10. I don’t think they can run the rest of it (demonstrably they can’t), but it does have to be run. You know, protect the border, defend the nation, uphold the rule of law…?

  11. I don’t think they can run the rest of it (demonstrably they can’t),

    See the country IS ungovernable…

    I understand the points being made, but let’s just stick with the concept of limited powers at the federal level.

  12. I wonder if the same strategy could be used to get around the U.S. ban on 100 watt light bulbs.


    Goodbye, 100-watt bulbs
    Phaseout of big, bright energy hog began New Year’s Day

    By Onell R. Soto

    [[[California is jumping ahead of the rest of the nation in implementing a federal law requiring energy-efficiency light bulbs. Stores can’t now sell 100-watt models made after Dec. 31, 2010.

    The law, signed by President George W. Bush in 2007, goes into effect in the rest of the country a year from now.]]]

  13. First, it was light bulbs, then laser milled square grooves in irons. What’s next? I fear for my Corfam shoes.

  14. Dr Chris McKay was on The Space Show the other day and after listening to his vision for space for the next 200 years I decided I had to call. In the politest possible way I suggested that perhaps he had a little *too much vision*. That he was planning out a top-down NASA dominated space exploration program ala von Braun, rather than trying to work out how to provide economic incentives and technological breakthroughs. Thankfully he had just made some comments about technological breakthroughs before I was allowed onto the show, so it was easy to suggest that those technologies may make his plans irrelevant as space becomes more accessible to industry and independent exploration interest groups.

    I can’t remember where I heard it, but someone said: if you’re planning what your descendants will be doing in 1000 years then you’ve got too much vision.

  15. …but it does have to be run.

    No question about that. We do need a different set of runners (I almost said leaders… twack off the side of me head.)

  16. @Titus: I didn’t read the whole link (Internet time, y’know) but I disagree that the conclusion (“don’t get cute”) follows from the premises (judges and juries are technologically incompetent). If recent judicial history has shown anything, it has taught us that “cute” too-often dominates the legal battlespace, or at least comprises a major class of weapons. Why else is Johnny Cochran’s legacy “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!”? Why do you think Michael Jackson died a free man? You could even say that the success of gay marriage in the courts is the result of a “cute” analogy to the civil rights movement, one that doesn’t pass the test of reason yet provides legalists of various stripes cover for their agendas….

    I would argue that “cute” legal arguments provide cover, but are not persuasive in themselves. You have to do the political legwork to ensure that judges and juries are swayed to the result you want. (Often very easy when the defendant is a celebrity). Then “cute” can work its magic, turning unimaginable outcomes into the conventional wisdom….

  17. Well, I’ve argued for awhile that lighting in the winter is “free” in the sense that the 100W you expend on your table lamp offsets 100W additional power through your furnace (assuming your electric socket delivers power at about the same dollar rate as your gas line).

    The argument doesn’t work in the summertime, though, so I turn off most of the houselights when I’m not running the furnace….

  18. They would simply demand that these “heat bulb” be reconfigured as to not fit the standard light socket so that it couldn’t be used in normal light fixtures.

    Then the light manufactures might make alternative fixtures designed as “heat devices” with protective shielding (lampshades) …

  19. It’s not playing by the rules, it’s playing the rules. Which is why principles trump rules.

    The question is why we allow those with no principles to make rules?

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