Light Friday: The Last of The Incandescents

December 20, 2013

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Picture this: folks across America running wild, like Daniel Day-Lewis, to stores for lightbulbs. Beginning on Jan. 1, the U.S. will phase out the 60-watt (and 40-watt) incandescent lamp, the last holdout of Thomas Edison's invention that changed the world some 130 years ago. It will no longer be legal to manufacture or import incandescents, so big-box retailers like Home Depot are stockpiling what they can and are sure to send consumers into a buying frenzy soon.

Thanks to the Energy Independence and Security Act signed by President George W. Bush in 2007, the country has been slowly dimming down the incandescent era since 2012, beginning with the now-extinct 75W and 100W bulbs. But when Americans start seeing fewer and fewer 60W bulbs on store shelves in the new year, the country will finally see the light.

That's because the 60W lightbulb is America's most popular incandescent, accounting for half of all standard-size lightbulb sales, and a survey by lighting manufacturer Osram Sylvania found that six out of every 10 people were unaware that it, along with the 40W bulb, is going away. The survey also found that nearly a third of them said they will be stocking up on incandescent lamps in bulk.

So even if Americans didn't fight it out over lightbulbs on Black Friday, they just might, come June, when Home Depot's remaining six-month inventory is expected to burn out. The retailer is already running promotions to "educate" customers about the impending finality (read: buy them up now).

Despite the efficiency and long-life benefits of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LED lights, many Americans will hold out as long as they can because they simply like the familiar "warm" hue that incandescents give off. And many still turn yellow upon seeing prices for LED and CFL lights (even though they have dropped significantly), when they can get a six-pack of incandescents at a price of less than a buck each.

Obviously, more education from groups like the Natural Resource Defense Council will be needed to convince Luddites of the benefits of CFLs and LEDs, such as lower electric bills and years of not having to replace lights in hard-to-reach places. Noah Horowitz, senior scientist and director of NRDC's Center for Energy Efficiency, said Americans will collectively save $13 billion on their energy bills once everyone flips the switch on the modern bulbs.

But before the lament, there will be filament. Alas, we know that the last of the incandescents will put up a good light before the CFLs and LEDs take over, as change is inevitable. We can only venture when we'll start seeing relics on eBay ironically fetching bids of $10 a bulb from collectors. Till then, it's been great seeing you (and the things you helped us see), incandescent friend.

Everything's Bigger in Texas, but This Is Biggest

The food processing industry will eat this one up.

A group in Bryant, Texas, about 90 miles north of Houston, has created the world's largest gingerbread house, or "confectionary construction," as officially declared by the Guinness Book of World Records. (For those not keeping score, this is the third straight week we have mentioned Guinness Book of World Records.)

The sweet adobe was built by the Traditions Club outside Texas A&M University, in a charity effort for a nearby hospital. Just like any good modular construction, it was put together with pre-baked, preformed panels. The 2,500-square-foot structure was built over a wooden frame, and, yes, the exterior is edible.

Volunteers whipped 1,800 pounds of butter, 2,900 pounds of brown sugar, 7,200 eggs, 7,200 pounds of flour, and 1,000 ounces of ground ginger into shape and finished the house off with 23,000 pieces of hard candy. The calorie count for this concoction? A ginormous 36 million.

The house was open to the curious public until a few days ago. There is no word on its fate, though area bees might be getting the biggest treat of their lives.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ0Kh0TSzQs[/youtube]

Celestial Bodies Get Metaphorical

Every year Literary Review gives out what it proclaims as "Britain's Most Dreaded Literary Prize." It's the Bad Sex in Fiction Award.

This year, for the 21st time, Literary Review bestowed its award on Manil Suri, for some particularly "spacey" writing in The City of Devi. Because we intend to remain a family-friendly publication, we can only say Suri used astronomy terms -- "supernovas," "solar systems," "quarks," and "atomic nuclei" (!) -- in highly offbeat fashion. You can read the actual prose here.

While the U.S.-based Suri was not able to travel across the pond to an award ceremony in London and accept his award in person from soap-opera legend and host Joan Collins, 400 guests raised a toast to him in congratulations. Suri was picked over seven other sultry finalists.

Suri is a math professor (that explains a lot) at the University of Maryland, "where his research focuses on the numerical analysis of partial different equations," according to Literary Review. The City of Devi is his third work of fiction.

Happy Holidays from ThomasNet News! 

The holidays are a time to consider all that we’re thankful for, and you are on our list.

You drove a tremendous 2013 for ThomasNet News with your readership, sharing of our articles, and feedback on our content. We want to keep this momentum going.

In 2014, you will see the rollout of a more streamlined and improved ThomasNet News that will ensure you get the most complete picture of manufacturing, industry, and business anywhere.

With your continued support, we’re promising to outdo ourselves in 2014.

And, as always, we welcome your feedback as well as editorial submissions, guest writers, and contributors from industry.

In the meantime, please let us share a special holiday message with you. See you in 2014!

 

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