Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fair and Balanced News?

For years, I have long-stated the dangers of the “new” media, such as the “fair and balanced” Fox News, brainwashing the public with opinion, rather than news; and often with downright lies. The Murdoch scandal is beginning to bring all this to the light.

For example, “…by a voice vote, the House just passed a “light bulb ban” amendment to the 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Act (HR 2354). The amendment, offered by climate denier Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), prohibits spending to enforce the incandescent lighting efficiency standards in the 2007 energy law signed by President George W. Bush.”

Leading the charge to justify the cause with the public is the misinformation, distortions, and lies by the conservative right media, namely Fox News.


Twenty years ago, one of my homework assignments to my students was a comparison between a 100 watt incandescent light bulb, costing 60 cents, and a “new” compact fluorescent bulb costing $20. For those that could do the math, the savings in dollars and energy (kwh) were almost 8x for 10,000 hours of light. Today, those efficient CF bulbs sell for less than a dollar each. The big issue back then was the initial high cost of the technology…the grumblings were “nobody would buy a $20 bulb, it doesn’t work right, we’ll never figure it out”…on and on…the same issues facing most renewables even today…high up front costs, but low production costs after the initial investment, resulting in much more money saved over time. But fiscal conservatives don’t get this. Their mantra is make the most money you can NOW…an investment with a payback over two years is not good “business.” Historically, technology has a tendency to come down in price as use and demand for the product increases…like computers, cell phones, digital cameras, etc.

This is basic energy efficiency…the cheapest way to make more electricity available for new/other uses, without new generation. It is much cheaper than building a new nuke! However, the real fiscal conservatives are afraid to embrace common sense energy efficiency. It hurts the big fossil fuel industries and their profits.

“For a list of inane pro-pollution GOP amendments the House will vote on see TP Green. Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL) has an amendment “to prohibit websites that teach children about energy efficiency.” We don’t need no education!”

Another misnomer in the lighting bill is that we would all be forced to buy expensive LED lights...not true. Yes, LEDs right now are expensive, due to the fact that they run on DC voltage; but in time these super-efficient bulbs will come down in price. There are many lighting options available to us today that that are cheap, save energy (I guess we should emphasis saving MONEY), and play into the whole debate on electricity generation, CO2, pollution, and on and on.

Who is in charge? Who is responsible? Who is making decisions and “buying” their political and material philosophy?


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