Incandescent Light Bulb, You Were 100 Watts of Wonderful: A California Eulogy

Edison vs. the environment
Edison vs. the environment

If Thomas Edison were alive today, he'd surely shed a tear. January 1 marked the beginning of a sad, slow death for the brightest household light bulb known to man -- and we're not about to let it fade from our lives without a fair memorial.

Though he's more infamous for environmental unfriendliness, George W. did take the time to sign the Energy Independence and Security Act while in office: It'll phase out the 100-watt incandescent bulb in the U.S. by 2012.

California, of course, had to out-green the rest of the nation and push the ban to 2011. From here on out, the future is bathed in cold metallic lamplight...

... so stock up now if you ever want to read Jane Eyre in a proper pool of warm, gooey glow-light again. Like Four Lokos before them, the bulbs not outlawed completely, just being issued a "cease production." Now's the time to fill the cellar if you're a global-warming-be-damned lighting traditionalist.

"These standards will help cut our nation's electric bill by over $10 billion a year and will save the equivalent electricity as 30 large power plants," a Natural Resources Defense Council scientist told KTLA. "That translates into a whole lot less global warming pollution being emitted."

Another stoked environmentalist -- California Energy Commission chair Karen Douglas -- told the Los Angeles Times that "90 percent of an old-fashioned incandescent bulb's energy is wasted as heat. The new bulbs will be 28 percent more energy efficient without compromising the amount of light delivered."

Yeah, yeah. But there's really nothing like good-old-fashioned vitamin-piss bulblight.

Environmentally friendly imitators -- halogen incandescents, compact fluorescents, LEDs, etc. -- though touted as just as bright, are annoyingly neon, slow to start up and, let's face it, will never live up to the century-old standard. Want proof? Look how hard the Canadians are shivering.

There are practical downsides as well, via KTLA:

Nick Reynoza, manager at Royal Lighting inLos Angeles, said it's a shame the transition comes at a time when alternatives are so much more expensive.

"It's not really an option -- you have this or you don't get anything," he said. "The options are more expensive. Four incandescents are $1.00, the halogens are $5.99 and the LED are like $20."

Of course, that doesn't take into account all the money you'll be saving on your electric bill. But for the sake of honoring the deceased, let's put our forward-thinking greenhouse gook aside and blaze our 100-watters into the night for one final farewell.

You shone so bright, you incandescent wonder. You'll be missed. Somethin' fierce.

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