California Dims the Incandescent Bulb

Californians are kissing goodbye to the standard 100-watt incandescent light bulb, a tired technology that's barely improved since Edison's time.

As of this past Saturday, January 1, 2011, standard 100-watt incandescent light bulbs are being phased off of California store shelves. Bulbs that were manufactured before January 1 or already on store shelves can still be legally sold and purchased, but no more of the low-tech, energy sucking bulbs can be brought to market in California.

The California Energy Commission is quick to claim that this is not a "ban" on incandescent bulbs, but rather a new energy efficiency standard. In fact, it's the same standard that was passed by Congress and signed into federal law by George W. Bush, which will go into effect on January 1, 2012. As is so often the case, California legislators decided to get ahead of the rest of the nation.

According to the CEC, "California has enacted the federal standards one year earlier to avoid the sale of 10.5 million inefficient 100-watt bulbs in 2011 which would cost consumers $35.6 million in unnecessarily higher electricity bills (Source: PG&E Case Study)."

As for the New Year's roll-out date, Renee Montagne pointed out a quirky coincidence on Morning Edition: "So incidentally, it was on New Year's Eve in 1879 that Thomas Edison first demonstrated his newfangled incandescent light bulb to the public."

That's Edison in the image above, holding up his original invention. It's equal bits amazing and confounding that in this time of rapid technological advancement, when a 3G mobile phone is outdated in under 12 months, that there are plenty of people griping about updating a tech product that has barely changed in 121 years.

There have been some rumblings about Californians hoarding incandescents in anticipation of the ban. I'd love to hear stories if anyone has them.

via Alan Levine / Flickr

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

Keep Reading Show less

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

Keep Reading Show less