OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Being a dick about Earth Hour

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  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Kieth, I thought this was a great rant, agreed with everything you said . . .

    BUT

    I do wonder if Labour considered how many votes, and seats in the house it was worth to ban incandescent light bulbs?

    Given that getting rid of the nanny state was the main thrust of National's campaign, and the CFL/cold showers debate was arguably the high/low point of that campaign I'd argue that the number of seats Labour lost purely on the light bulbs issue was a non-zero number. And given that the Nats repealed the ban almost as soon as they got into power it means that Labour threw away at least one seat in the house on a totally pointless, futile gesture.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    And then wierdly we have one fitting where the CFL keeps blowing out, average lifetime about 1 month. At the moment it is an empty socket which saves even more power but leaves me somewhat concerned about the quality of our wiring.

    This could be what Andrew referred to earlier, harmonics. The high frequency inverter in the base of the bulb can create HF back into the wiring and in doing so can affect other devices. In the case of the device being another CFL the HF combining with the output of the inverter can cause a harmonic spike in the voltage within the bulb itself and cause it to self destruct.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Well, we're a big bunch of greenies, and our house doesn't do Earth Hour. I think my objections were summed up pretty well last year by a comment in Your Views (also by this post, though I'm not suggesting any equivalency here).

    Some women were furious because, while they were enjoying Earth Hour, they went to see how many other people were doing it, and were shocked and appalled that so many lights were still on in their neighbourhood.

    They did this by getting in their car and driving around.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I do not agree with the CO2 = Global Warming hypothesis. Studies have shown that, although there is a correlation between CO2 levels and Global Warming, a rise in CO2 follows a rise in temperature so CO2 cannot be the cause.

    Ha, did you read your own link though Steve? It's pointing out the well understood realities around the CO2 warming lag. Lets just quote straight from that article:

    This proves that rising CO2 was not the trigger that caused the initial warming at the end of these ice ages - but no climate scientist has ever made this claim. It certainly does not challenge the idea that more CO2 heats the planet.

    What seems to have happened at the end of the recent ice ages is that some factor - most probably orbital changes - caused a rise in temperature. This led to an increase in CO2, resulting in further warming that caused more CO2 to be released and so on: a positive feedback that amplified a small change in temperature. At some point, the shrinking of the ice sheets further amplified the warming.

    Models suggest that rising greenhouse gases, including CO2, explains about 40% of the warming as the ice ages ended. The figure is uncertain because it depends on how the extent of ice coverage changed over time, and there is no way to pin this down precisely.

    Not to turn this into yet another interwebs AGW thread, but the historical CO2/warming lag is well understood and doesn't contradict AGW at all.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    Don't be silly Gareth, of course the link said that, otherwise the authors' funding would dry up...

    You've got to read between the lines.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    I just don’t get all this hostility toward the Nanny State. I’ve watched several variations of the always-popular Nanny programmes on TV. In each case, the sensible nanny rocks up to a house with a couple of delinquent, out-of-control brats and gets them to sort their shit out so they can bring their children up properly. End result is a house full of model citizens. What's not to like?

    All this hate for Nannies and love for Boot Camps suggests to me some kind of fetish…

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    We've had a pretty poor record with the CFLs we bought in mid-2007, when there were a lot on the market at very cheap prices. About half stopped working at all within the first few months, one developed a weird purple colour, and one flickers a bit randomly. The replacements we've bought since are also a mixed bag - two look fantastic after 5 mins or so, and even have the classic old-school lightbulb shape over the squiggly and a warm golden tone, but are so dim when they start up as to be very annoying. Another one has a bright white glare that makes everything else look helplessly dim. I'm looking forward to my product knowledge catching up with what's out there.

    But the boots theory is dead right. I'd never have bought CFLs when I was renting, because the chance of me being around to cash in on the (supposed) longer life benefits was low. Even though in the long run I spent far more on downlights that also burnt out after a year, and were so inefficient you could feel warm patches on the floor upstairs where there was a light on below.

    Steve, that's way selective reading of the New Scientist article, which talks about natural climate change, not human-induced changes to the atmosphere over the last hundred years.

    This proves that rising CO2 was not the trigger that caused the initial warming at the end of these ice ages - but no climate scientist has ever made this claim. It certainly does not challenge the idea that more CO2 heats the planet.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Andy Palmer,

    interesting bit of info ... for those in wellington.

    the central library is giving away ecobulbs in support of earth hour. at least they were yesterday. so i assume its happening all week.

    go back everyday and stock up for free.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Ah, I see pausing to consider one's thoughts risks someone faster of thinking getting there first.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Earth to Earth Hour: Our politicians, despite their best efforts, do not live in space.

    Hehe! Great blog Keith. Double points for:

    And it was balls.

    The argument is drawn from classic liberalism's core claim to freedom: That we have the inalienable right to any activity as long as it does not impinge on the rights of other citizens.

    Except that nobody really believes that.

    I get so sick of saying this to otherwise interventionist liberals. "They're idiots, don't believe what they're saying, you don't actually believe that!"

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Burning organic material (like wax and wood) produces CO2. Tell your friends.

    Well, yes, but surely unless you plan on burying the wood it's part of the short-term carbon cycle anyway?

    Not that have any wish to detract from the awesomeness of your post.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I should add that we have a houseful of CFL bulbs. Every time an old one went, my darling would replace it with a more efficient one.

    I should add that environmentally (for everyone) and financially (for you) it makes sense to replace them all now before they die. Despite the waste, we should all throw our old lightbulbs away today, because it'll save us money.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    How much is an incandescent bulb? CFL's are $2 a pop when subsidised.
    But I guess an over-reliance on initial cost is a pretty classic market failure that warrants Govt intervention - i.e. ban. If you ain't going to be rational economic utility maximisers then Nanny will be all up in there!

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I just don’t get all this hostility toward the Nanny State. I’ve watched several variations of the always-popular Nanny programmes on TV. In each case, the sensible nanny rocks up to a house with a couple of delinquent, out-of-control brats and gets them to sort their shit out so they can bring their children up properly. End result is a house full of model citizens. What's not to like?

    All this hate for Nannies and love for Boot Camps suggests to me some kind of fetish…

    When people whinge about the 'nanny state', just point out to them Lee Kuan Yew's favourite quote, "If Singapore is a nanny state, then I am proud to have fostered one."

    Other than that, there's a noticeable liberal-conservative divide between 'boot campers' and 'nanny statists'. I'd say it's a conflict between reality-based and faith-based ideologies, part of a battlefront in a wider Kulturkampf.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    But, Global warming is a big business in itself. Ask any academic looking for funding, If you want funding all you have to do is append the name of your study with the words "With regard to Global Warming" and you're home and hosed.

    So the global warming debate is being fuelled by academics to get more funding for their projects?

    Interesting theory. I would have thought that what was fueling the debate was...um... the actual evidence that mankind is contributing to global warming. Unless you're suggesting that scientists and academics made all that shit up?

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Don't be silly Gareth, of course the link said that, otherwise the authors' funding would dry up...

    No, no, I don't think Steve is a classic denialiserer (it's more fun when you add syllables). He's raising some valid queries for non-climate-scientists like us, but having looked into the same issue it has been pretty well covered and found to pose no problem for the AGW theory.

    Although that line is unfortunately still rather common huh...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Grace Dalley,

    I just don’t get all this hostility toward the Nanny State. I’ve watched several variations of the always-popular Nanny programmes on TV. In each case, the sensible nanny rocks up to a house with a couple of delinquent, out-of-control brats and gets them to sort their shit out so they can bring their children up properly. End result is a house full of model citizens. What's not to like?

    All this hate for Nannies and love for Boot Camps suggests to me some kind of fetish…

    Oh that's so funny. And brilliant post Keith.

    Hell, if we all get to live past the next ten or twenty years, I think it's worth getting over such absurd pettiness as worrying what kind of lightbulbs we're allowed to use...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2008 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C,

    Our experience mimics a few other posters', the lifetime of the CFL bulbs has been so appalling we have pretty much given up.

    To date we have one still going at 2.5yrs old, but the next longest was only 1 year, and the majority less than 6 months. This was in a brand new house, and we fitted them in almost every single room.

    Generally they just stop working, or simple emit a very very soft purple glow, but a couple exploded.

    Given how expenisve they are we have given up. We bought them at regular retail prices, which is not cheap, and are no longer prepared to throw our money into experimenting.

    Someone mentioned harmonics, maybe that is our issue? Could be our wiring, but a brand new house (2.5yrs old now)...?

    Perhaps if someone can recommend a good quality brand we would get a couple and try again. The shop retailers dont really seem to have any idea. Also I would love info on the different "hues", and info on speed of warm up etc. We would like ones which look most like a "regular" bulb colour (warm etc). Again the light shop retailers didnt seem to have any idea [they gave advice but turned out to be wrong, and would give the opposite when returned a month later etc etc *sigh*]

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Apropos Nanny State vs Boot Camp: the advocates of both expect that other people will be nannied/booted, while detractors fear the boot/nanny coming for them.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Garth George claimed in his Herald column to have been making plans to stockpile the old bulbs.

    I like to imagine that pile is in the same basement as his stockpile of BZP.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    But, Global warming is a big business in itself. Ask any academic looking for funding, If you want funding all you have to do is append the name of your study with the words "With regard to Global Warming" and you're home and hosed.

    Bull-F'ing-shit.

    I'm an academic.

    I look into our carpark at work and see all the Ferrari's and Lotuses (Loti?) that confirm your argument (Clue, I can't see any).

    Just for a second have a look at the cars of scientists and the cars or the arseholes who claim we get lots of grant money from faking global warming.

    Sorry but this assertion that scientists can get lots of money by lying to the world is so insulting it makes me ....

    If you are pointing out that some unscrupulous scum wearing suits have swindled valuable research money out of the governments by pretending their business has something to do with GW, then I might consider your argument reasonable ... for a nanosecond.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    __ Garth George claimed in his Herald column to have been making plans to stockpile the old bulbs.__

    I like to imagine that pile is in the same basement as his stockpile of BZP.

    Let's follow the logic:
    - Garth claims BZP is a gateway drug to P
    - Garth is stockpiling lightbulbs
    - You can't smoke P in a squiggly bulb
    ergo...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    - You can't smoke P in a squiggly bulb
    ergo...

    Gareth Ward, put your hand up and pretend to look at my elbow, because I am giving you an Air High Five.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    I'm not sure I should even use the word "debate" when it comes to global warming. The only debate should be about what we are going to do to address global warming.

    And while the ban on the old lightbulbs was a small step, the rush to repeal the ban says a lot about this government's approach to environmental issues. Until quite recently Key was in open denial about climate change. His government's actions to date suggest nothing much has changed, whatever his recent pronouncements.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    Re the life of CFLs.
    They are a mass produced item, so some of them will fail (economics of quality assurance getting 100% pass rate is not worth it).
    That said, quality bulbs are tested to at least 8000 hours life - the energymad ones were tested for 10,000 hours.
    If you have purchased quality bulbs and have more then one blow out in under a year I'd say that suggests your wiring is wonky, not the bulbs are crap.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

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