The ban on the 100W light bulb could cause my electric use to INCREASE. I use motion sensor light switches to automatically turn OFF lights. The compact fluorescent lights (CFL) put too much electrical noise on the AC line causing the automatic light switches to continuously retrigger causing the CFLs to be ON continuously once turned ON! It is simple math to show that a 100W incandescent that is ON for just a few minutes consumes less power than a 26W CFL that is ON continuously!
When are lights used? In general when it is dark and for those of us in the northern part of the country, in what months is the majority of the waking hours darkness? During the winter-time when there are only 8 hours of sunlight per day. And what do we need inside our buildings at that time? Heat. So I'd venture that the majority of the "wasted" energy where I live isn't wasted at all.
And... due to our low electrical costs, many homes in this area are heated with resistive electrical heating. It is cheaper than propane.
It may sound logical and attractive to have an engineer or scientist in political office, but their record there is no better than others, and sometimes worse, since human nature and people not always amenable or governed by logic and numbers--nor should it be. And remember, the present Sec'y of Energy is Dr Stephen Chu, a Nobel Prize winner in Physics, yet many feel his policies are very wrongheaded.
The mainstreaming of electric and hybrid vehicles will certainly have the effect of causing many more service problems for their owners, and it certainly will raise the cost of repairs by a large amount, because there will not be any competition between service organizations any more. In addition, how long will the auto companies support any given model? And the main problem will undoubtedly be in the realm of battery service and replacements. If battery life is as long as some claim, then they will be obsolete by the time a replacement is needed, while if battery life is as short as many anticipate, the high price of replacements will be a big issue. Consider that One can drive an older type vehicle for 10 to 20 years and not need to spend much money on service, but now it would be very unlikely that a replacement battery would be available at any price.
I include the 'zero-emissions' electric vehicle in that category. The emissions have just been transferred somewhere else along the chain, i.e., the energy expended in increased copper production on the front end, and more copper dust into the environment on the back-end. Not to mention battery energy density, longevity - or, not, and disposal.
Perhaps a step in the right direction is for more engineers/scientists to run for public office and remove some of the rhetoric/feel-good from the politics and add some more solid data and reasoning.
As a means of protection against unintended consequences, many organizations use a thing called Failure Mode Effects Analysis to determine what could happen. A very similar process might save our country from a whole lot of unintended grief. Of course, it takes people with a good deal of understanding to carry out an FMEA. So probably not our government, but a team of engineers, should evaluate the various ideas before they are made into laws.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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