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Cards on the table: I am cheap.
My latest adventure in cheapness involves lightbulbs, specifically the old school incandescent kind. The kind invented by Thomas Alva Edison. The kind that government put the kibosh on as of January 1, 2014 under the Energy Independence and Security Act.
There's been a lot of partisan anger about the new energy-efficient lightbulb mandates. Personally, I'm not an incandescent bulb hoarder.
Nor am I opposed to CFLs or LEDs. My home has roughly 75% LEDs, 25% CFLs, and 5% incandescents.
But as I said, I am cheap.
I know it's been said the true cost of a bulb is not the purchase price, but the cost of the energy it burns over time. While I do agree with that statement, sometimes it makes more financial sense to extend the life of a traditional bulb.
Here's my rationale: Let's say you bought that incandescent on sale for 50 cents a bulb. It eats a full 60 watts of electricity. Yet that might only be about $4 or $5 a year in energy expenses per bulb.
That LED, meanwhile, could cost around $10. It will only eat 11 watts to give you the same light as the 60-watt incandescent . But unless you get it on deep discount, you might not make your money back on that bulb for a year or two.
So you could call it delaying the inevitable, but when an incandescent burns out at my home, I'm not exactly leaping to buy a costly LED to replace it.
And therein is the crux of my argument: Did you know there's an alternative to throwing away incandescents that have burned out? It's pretty easy to fix those things and extend their life for anywhere from a few months to a year before they finally give up the ghost for good.
The fix involves reconnecting the two strands of filament inside the bulb. Chances are that filament melted and snapped, causing the light to go out. But if you can get the two dangling strands to touch again, your light will burn anew.
Not sure what I'm talking about? Just watch this video below from Kung Fu Maintenance or read this eHow primer.
This trick works great with my Great Value 25-watt clear globe light bulbs from Walmart. It's rare that I can't get a bulb to re-light by using sleight of hand to jiggle the filaments just so. What a feeling I get when there's that Let There Be Light moment!
And bonus, since I've started fixing our incandescent bulbs, my family has given me a new nickname: The "Frugal Filament Fixer." You can't beat that!
For further reading:
America, are you prepared for a cheese war?
U.S. and E.U. officials are meeting in Brussels to discuss the terms of the free trade agreement President Barack Obama proposed during his 2013 State of the Union Address.
But a report from the Associated Press says E.U. representatives are expected to put cheese on the negotiating table. Figuratively. (Via Wikimedia Commons / JJ Harrison, Dominik Hundhammer, Jon Sullivan)
"The E.U. wants to ban the use of names like parmesan, feta and Gruyere on cheeses that are made in America." (Via NECN)
"They argue that only cheese from Parma should be called parmesan. ... the E.U. claims American-made cheeses are mere imitations and they take market share away from the real McCoys." (Via Al Jazeera)
The E.U. wants the U.S. to honor its geographical indications. Those are kind of like trademarks for products that are named after a location.
In the E.U., feta cheese made outside Greece can't be marketed as feta. Other places can still make it and they can still sell it. They just have to call it something else.
A trade deal last year between the E.U. and Canada imposed the same restrictions. Any new feta product made in Canada has to be marketed as feta-style or feta-like, and can't use Greek columns or lettering on the package.
U.S. companies aren't happy about the restrictions, saying they'll confuse consumers. The head of theNational Milk Producers Federation said "The consequences ... would be higher costs, fewer choices and greater confusion. ... It is American food companies that have helped popularize many cheeses with old world origins, leading to increased sales for all."
The outrage goes all the way to Capitol Hill. A group of 55 U.S. senators sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging him to "push back" against the new restrictions. (Via U.S. Senate)
It's not clear yet how strongly European negotiators will push for the restrictions. A representative simply said that the issue is an important one for the E.U.Wed, 12 Mar 2014 03:35:41 -0700
Volcanoes, known for violent explosions and toxic fumes, may have been responsible for saving some species during the ice ages. (Via U.S. Geological Survey)
A new study says volcanoes provided warm areas for things like mosses, lichens and bugs to thrive while the rest of the world was covered in glaciers. (Via National Geographic)
The study specifically looked at volcanoes in Antarctica. One researcher says: "The closer you get to volcanoes, the more species you find. This pattern supports our hypothesis that species have been expanding their ranges and gradually moving out from volcanic areas since the last ice age." (Via Nature World News)
The last ice age was 20,000 years ago, and since that time Antarctica has had at least 16 active volcanoes. (Via YouTube / Jiri VonDrak)
So how exactly did volcanoes make the world a more livable place? The study’s lead author explains.
"Volcanic steam can melt large ice caves under the glaciers, and it can be tens of degrees warmer in there than outside. Caves and warm steam fields would have been great places for species to hang out during Ice Ages." (Via Sci-News.com)
So I guess you can now also think of volcanoes as an prehistoric radiator. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Wed, 12 Mar 2014 03:24:30 -0700 News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories