Quick Roundup 175

Thursday, April 12, 2007

FIRM Website and Blog

Pursuant to a comment on yesterday's post on socialized medicine, I am repeating the postscript I added to it here.

If you are concerned about fighting socialized medicine, and especially if you are a physician from Colorado, you may find the Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM) website -- which also hosts the primary location for the letter -- to be of interest. Also check its blog for updates here or in my sidebar.
The main website of FIRM, which can be reached through its blog, is now also available directly from the upper right of my page of links.

Jihadists, Useful Idiots to Protest Panel Discussion

Via Student of Objectivism, it seems that a communist outfit that calls itself the "UCLA Civil Dissent Network" is preparing to raise a stink about the fact that Daniel Pipes is scheduled to appear in tonight's panel discussion at UCLA ("Totalitarian Islam's Threat to the West") with Wafa Sultan and Yaron Brook.

By clicking on the image, you can read the three quotes from Daniel Pipes that "tolstoy.la" finds so incriminating.

All three are merely statements of fact, and ought to be taken very seriously, given the steady stream of anti-semitic propaganda put out on broadcasts and in textbooks by the "Palestinian" "Authority", the well-known calls for the destruction of Israel (that alternate with Holocaust denials) by the President of Iran, and the frequent threats (called "invitations") directed at Westerners from totalitarian Moslems the world over to convert to their death cult.

Good LTE on Climate Change

Via HBL, I learned of a very good letter to the editor in reply to an article in the Hamilton Spectator on global warming. I was especially impressed with the closing.
MacIsaac's article was an echo of the Old Left, which had respect for industry and economic progress.

However, he still commits the same fallacy that plagued that dead ideological movement which is that the "greater good" can be achieved through an agency of central planning. Just as central planning failed to feed the population of Soviet Russia, as it fails to provide the average Cuban with an air-conditioner, and as it failed the population of New Orleans pre- and post-Katrina, it will fail in saving us from any potential climate catastrophe.
This gets to the heart of the whole global warming crusade, which is: to use predictions of disaster to simultaneously panic people into accepting central economic planning and distract them from the fact that this entire political agenda has already been tried and found disastrous.

"Get your CRAP ... together!"

Software Nerd and I ponder the direction that Warren Chisum's crusade to save young couples from themselves will take when the "fiscal conservatives" get wind of it.

In the meantime, commenter Dismuke digs up some more dirt on Warren Chisum.
[Chisum] distributed to other Texas lawmakers an anti-evolution pamphlet written by some Georgia state legislator that linked to and made favorable mention of this website which claims that the sun revolves around the earth. The site is definitely good for a few laughs. When he was confronted by the the media about it and some of the anti-Semitic comments on it, Chisum backed down and claimed that he had not visited the website when he distributed the pamphlet and apologized.

THIS is the fellow who wants to butt into everybody's marriage - in a state which happens to contain some of the largest and most successful metropolitan areas in the country.
Yes. And this is an outstanding example of why we should be fighting tooth and nail to reduce the power of the government to interfere in our daily lives: Because such power means in practice that we can easily end up taking orders from the likes of Warren Chisum (or worse).

Urbanism and Local Politics

Dismuke also had some interesting things to say on urbanism and local politics that I hadn't thought of when I replied to a comment by Vigilis on the subject. Dismuke's comments start here.

Regulatory Braggadocio

Galileo makes a very interesting point in his latest post, in which he writes about government regulators who mandate the use of new technologies that are in the process of becoming new industry standards anyway.
The regulator claims credit for a product she did not invent, one which private automobile manufacturers were going to implement anyway. The regulator stole the spotlight from the engineers and automobile executives who, acting out of self-interest, were making their product better by making it safer.
I would add that this also makes it impossible for some who do not want a given feature to avoid it. (GB talks about automobile safety features, for example. His discussion reminds me, incidentally, of this interesting take on some of these.)

In addition, while I am not completely up to speed on whether the incandescent bulb is in the process of being "naturally" (largely) replaced by newer, more energy-efficient alternatives, the recent proposals to ban incandescents in California and Australia strike me as possible other examples of regulatory braggadocio, but with the added element of "package-dealing" a pet moral crusade to the new technology. In other words, we are seeing the government not merely stealing credit for a new invention and ramming it down our throats -- but also using said invention for the purpose of spreading propaganda the inventor may not agree with at all.

-- CAV


: Minor edits.


Daniel Rigby said...

Wafa Sultan, Yaron Brook & Daniel Pipes?! It sounds like the best place to be ever. Man that is one allstar line up!

Gus Van Horn said...

Indeed, it does. Hopefully, the goons will stay outdoors....

Sid said...

You're absolutely spot on, Gus. (Based on empirical evidence -- I haven't seen a house without CFLs in ages) CFLs would have virtually eliminated incandescents 10-15 years from now even if governments hadn't butted in.

More and more people are buying CFLs here, for an extremely selfish reason -- they reduce energy bills! Whoulda thunk that? There are *drastic* long term savings in using the new ones. With the cost of an ordinary CFL falling, the equation looks more rosy by the day.

No, our government isn't discriminating between light bulbs and CFLs (at least not yet). It is people -- armed with knowledge -- who are.

Every company that produces light bulbs also produces CFLs. There is a huge variety now available in the market -- colour, size, luminosity, you name it. The better ones even come with a one-year guarantee -- with replacement, no questions asked.

Gus Van Horn said...

Very interesting to hear, Sid. Thank you for leaving that comment. (For the benefit of other readers, Sid write from India.)

Your comment reminds me of a remark made I think, by Yaron Brook, after he'd spoken against some environmentalist crusade a few years ago. He'd said something to the effect of not just leaving all the lights on at home (as environmentalists would suppose most of us do), "Because I don't like to waste money."

I liked his answer because, at the time, I found myself already doing some things the environmentalists were promoting, but for similar reasons to Brook's, and it made me aware that the opportunity to speak against environmentalism came with any such activity.

Dismuke said...

sid wrote:

"You're absolutely spot on, Gus. (Based on empirical evidence -- I haven't seen a house without CFLs in ages) CFLs would have virtually eliminated incandescents 10-15 years from now even if governments hadn't butted in."

Well, you sure won't be finding
them in my house anytime soon - even if I have to go on the black market for normal light bulbs.

To each his own taste, I suppose, but I hate those CFL bulbs. There is something about the color of the light that comes out of them that is not quite right - they have the effect of making even a nice room look shabby and gloomy.

One of my little pet peeves these days is the fact that it is almost impossible to go to a hotel without finding the things. It is almost to the point I am going to start bringing along my own light bulbs when I travel so that I can replace the hotel room CFLs for the duration of my stay with normal looking light.

So the CFL bulbs use less energy and save the hotel money over the long run. Well, the savings are pretty penny ante by any rational measure.

Let's see.....a google search shows that the average cost per kilowatt hour of electricity is 10.75 cents. That means it costs just over a penny per hour for me to burn a 100 watt incandescent light bulb. How many light bulbs does a typical hotel room have? Most hotels already use the industrial type fluorescent lights in the bathrooms. In most hotels I have stayed in, I would say that, on average, there are about 4 light bulbs outside of the bathroom that burn when the lights are on. So that means it costs the hotel about 4.3 cents per hour that I burn all four light bulbs. And how many hours per day does a typical hotel guest burn his lights? Not very many I would guess - usually if one is on an out of town trip one is there for some specific reason besides spending large amounts of time in a hotel room. Let's say I spend 4 hours in my room with the lights burning. That is 1600 watts or 17.2 cents per day in electricity for 100% of the cost of incandescent bulbs. According to a quick web search, CFLs save 70% of electricity costs over conventional light bulbs. If so, then that means by subjecting me to having to endure that ghastly looking light for four hours the hotel is saving itself 1120 watts or about 12.04 cents per day.

I am sorry, but that is an absurd example of being penny wise and pound foolish - especially when even a cheapo room at the Super 8 these days usually costs around $40 - $50 per night depending on the city.

I have a better idea - add an extra $1 per night to my hotel bill and pocket the difference between that and the 17.2 cents of electricity that is consumed by light bulbs that give out normal and decent looking light. That will make the hotel a LOT more money than what they would save over installing the CFL - and I sure as heck an not likely to miss the extra $1.

Of course, some might say that the 1120 watts saved per day times how many hotel rooms there are in the country adds up to lots and lots of kilowatt hours saved per year. But who cares? "Collective" savings of this kind mean jack squat to anyone besides an environmentalist mentality. From the perspective of any given individual - i.e., the only perspective that actually matters - we are basically talking about 7/10 of a penny savings per hour over the cost of burning a conventional 100 watt light bulb.

I am sorry but that simply isn't enough of a savings to justify having to look at everything through the ghastly glow of sub-par light quality.

Of course, there my be people out there who actually like the light CFLs put out - in which case, well, more power to them. And perhaps after a good number of months they will eventually see the electricity savings to justify the higher price of the bulb and end up walking away with a money savings that is probably dwarfed by the amount of money they toss away in any given month on things such as vending machines, Starbucks, soda pops, snacks and all sorts of other inexpensive luxuries that would equal an impressive looking number over time if one were to bother adding them up.

This push for CFLs is nothing more than another example of environmentalist nonsense. If you look at the savings per life of the bulb on the back of the package and divide it by the number of months the bulb is supposed to last - it is jack squat.

My advice: buy the light bulbs that put out the sort of light that you find appropriate and attractive to the room and the work that you do in it. If the minimal savings that CFLs provide are that important to your budget - well, my guess is you can find without a great deal of effort all sorts of unnecessary nickel and dime expenses that you can live just as happily without and achieve significantly more savings a lot faster.

Gus Van Horn said...

Not that I care for CFLs, either, but I suspect that the savings, even if comparably marginal, might be better-appreciated in India than here. I would suspect that various market forces (e.g., higher demand and lower production costs) might make them proportionally greater there.

In any event, the government has no business telling me what kind of bulb I may purchase.

Sid said...

One thing I'd like to add is that power is a lot more expensive here than it is in the US.

Again, each to his taste, but I don't find the light emitted by CFLs to be inferior in any way.

The basic premise, of course, is something we will all agree on -- government has no business in the whole matter.

Inspector said...


You're not alone in disliking CFL's.

Bear in mind, also, that the "savings" of such lights is possible only because of expensive energy. I say "expensive" because environmentalism, through regulations and bans, makes our energy cost much, much more than it might and ought to.

They get you coming and going, these environmentalists.

Gus Van Horn said...

That is one part of the cost equation I had not thought of, but in hindsight, it makes perfect sense that some things in India would also end up being more expensive. (The best example of this would be to consider things that, but for modern telecommunications and transportation, would not be available at all.)

Gus Van Horn said...

[Reply to Inspector]

(Your comment slipped into the "comment moderation queue in Blogger, but not my mail, and Blogger gives me no control over the order in which comments appear....)

Your (and Dismuke's) comments on CFLs remind me of those of Capitalist Lion on the brake assist feature. (See "interesting take" above.) I would agree that a particularly galling aspect of such moralistic market tampering is having one's personal taste ground under the boot of some bureaucrat.

Sid said...

Reminds you of the whole soyabean fiasco in Atlas Shrugged, doesn't it? That was horrible.

Gus Van Horn said...

Actually, it does.