Gribbit lies, billions and billions served: CFLs and “Can’t touch this” edition

Gribbit the right-wing hypocrite may have reached cartoon-character status a long time ago, managing to out-dumb his even most whacked-out peers. If nothing else, though, he is at least reliable in that he continually exemplifies exactly what makes Tea Partiers and other decerebrate reactionaries–in particular those who are curiously enamored of heroically fact-free blogging–such a joke, albeit a sick one given what their numbers say about the mentality of the American citizenry.

Before I get into the main topic, I have to say that I got quite a laugh from seeing that Gribbit is using a plug-in called Blog Protector, which prevents surfers from using right-click and other means to highlight, copy and paste text from the Web page to their clipboards. That this is futile for all sorts of reasons is amusing in itself, but better still is the fact that I am quite certain that the correlation coefficient between “likelihood of using this plug-in” and “likelihood anyone would ever represent your shit as their own work” is very close to -0.9999997.

Anyway, Gribbit unfailingly and dutifully aligns himself with every cause judged to be a conservative one, which is his extremist world means not taking a hard look at, or even rejecting categorically, environmentally friendly policies that limit industry profits but labeling everyone who takes any position other than “fuck the environment” as a thieving libtard commie or some derivative thereof.

Now, if Gribbit could support his ideas with anything resembling reasonable evidence he’d still be an angry guy living on the dole while bitching about government handouts, but he’d at least be worth engaging. But instead, he uses a toxic and corrupt amalgam of wishful thinking, blogs run by fellow nutbags, and “news” outlets like WorldNet Daily to “support” his “argument.”

Here he maligns the imminent and federally mandated phasing out of standard incandescent light bulbs in favor of compact fluorescent lightbulbs, or CFLs. Ignore his quaint spellings of “Dodo” and “fluorescent” (you’d think that a guy with a no-copy-me-poopy plug-in could track down a damned spellchecker) and forget the fact that to him “nearly 14 months” means the same thing as “over 15 months.” Never mind the fact that the final version of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 passed the Senate 86-8 and the House 314-100 and was signed into law by President Bush, rendering the various thoughtful and clever tags Gribbit has applied to his post (Democrat Incompetence, Lunatic Lefties, Orwellian Solutions, Pelosi – The Wicked Witch of the West, Stupidity, The Fiction of Global Warming, The Nanny State, The Wicked Witch of the West; I’m not sure why he has to mention witches twice–maybe he has a thing for Christine O’Donnell) somewhat less than well-focused. Pay no heed to Gribbit’s evidence that the purported lifespan of CFLs is fraudulent consists of testimony from his father-in-law–a man so bright that he let his daughter marry Gribbit. Just skip straight to the heart of the bullshit, a bulleted list encompassing five claims:

CFLs cost an average of 6 times more than incandescents. – I can actually purchase a box of [24] 60-watt incandescents for about the same price as just [2] CFLs of the same wattage.

Right off the bat Gribbit displays rank ignorance. First of all, CFL’s provide the same amount of light as standard bulbs at about one-fourth the wattage. That is, a 15-Watt CFL and a 60-Watt standard bulb do equivalent jobs. That means that every CFL racks up kW-hrs at one-fourth the rate traditional bulbs. Mix in the fact that they last a good six or seven times as long and, in sheer usage terms, you’re talking about a cost-savings factor per bulb of 25 or 30. CFLs do cost more than standard bulbs, but not six times as much–more like twice as much per illumination-equivalent bulb. As for what Gribbit put in italics, I don’t think I need to expand on the inanity of comparing the cost of one item purchase in bulk to that of another bought one at a time. This is a guy whose shopping habits make those gag signs like “$25 apiece, three for a dollar” seem less like jokes.

Anyway, the numbers are summarized here in a customizable spreadsheet. It doesn’t take a Nobel laureate to see that the initial cost of replacing spent traditional bulbs with CFLs is offset by a mammoth degree.

CFLs have been known to trigger migraine headaches in some people.

I believe that Gribbit gets migraines. I also believe that he causes many more to anyone around him when he leaves his cave to forage and blunder about. But the scientific evidence that CFLs can trigger migraines–at least to any greater degree than the older bulbs–is nowhere to be found. This, of course, has not kept the claim from bouncing memetically throughout the wingnut blogosphere ever since the “Clean Air Act” was singed into law.

CFLs have not been proven to last any longer than incandescents.

In this case it’s Gribbit’s father-in-law’s claim against countless independently conducted tests and a mountain of results from those tests. Hard as it is to pick one over the other, I’m gonna have to go with the latter. To wit:

The Government’s Market Transformation Unit has tested 1 several leading brands (including retailers’ own-brands) of CFLs and conventional, tungsten bulbs. It found that, generally, around 8 of 10 bulbs of either type exceed the median (average) life stated on the box. Specifically, at least 90% of bulbs from all brands of CFLs with a claimed average life of 6,000 hours or less exceeded this average life. Even where much longer lives were claimed – of 12,000 to 15,000 hours – over 70% of bulbs exceeded the claimed average life. So the overall conclusion was the CFLs do really last – on average – at least as long as the life stated on the box.

When the same team tested conventional bulbs they found a similar result for bulbs that were claimed to last for in excess of 1,000 hours – these bulbs typically lasted for 1,150 hours. Cheaper tungsten filament bulbs, that did not claim to be long life, still met their manufacturers’ claims, but rarely lasted for more than about 900 hours and some brands only lasted for 600 hours on average.

This testing means that you CAN believe the claims on the boxes. What is more, it confirms that even the cheapest energy saving CFLs will typically last for 5,000 hours of use, compared to only just over 1,000 hours on average for the best conventional bulbs.

CFLs contain dangerous mercury and disposal of these bulbs is difficult at best.

I’ll give Gribbit this much: This is a common misconception. Yes, the bulbs contain small amounts of mercury, but both industry and government scientists agree that the likelihood of poisoning resulting from a broken CFL is next to negligible. And their disposal does not require a HAZMAT team or any special precautions at all. Information about this is found here, and Snopes has tracked the issue as well. Hell, when even a site called Tree Hugger doesn’t agree with you about a potential biotoxin, it’s time to regroup and re-evaluate your position.

No viable alternative to CFLs as a replacement for incandescents has been developed.

This one fails on its face. It’s just a blind, witless assertion no better than “’nuff said” and what with the easy demolition of the other four “points,” it just sort of…burns out and goes dark.

So in summary: This post makes the already weary yet so often apt descriptor “EPIC FAIL” seem like a peck on the cheek. This is thermonuclear apocalyptic wrong, so stupid I can’t produce any neologisms or conventional analogies capable of doing it the remotest of justice.

I used to give Gribbit dubious credit in that I thought he was more stupid than willfully dishonest, but he’s clearly both. It’s impossible to search topics like this without being exposed to objective sources of information telling quite a different story then the yarns Gribbit spins with such pitifully clumsy fervor. Gribbit, you are an embarrassment to yourself and to whatever bastard subspecies of Homo sapiens to which you belong. Next time you feel like offering an opinion for others to read, chant these words out loud: “I’m a fucking idiot and the world will know–I need to shut up! I’m a fucking idiot and the world will know–I need to shut up! I’m a..” If that doesn’t work, smash your computer to smithereens. Just make it stop somehow, not for anyone else’s benefit but for your own.

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  1. #1 by jim on September 26, 2010 - 7:19 pm

    One of the earliest topics we cover in my freshman Circuits course is efficiency, and I’ve used the incandescent vs. CFL comparison for years. Only a complete, blithering moron would claim that CFLs are a bad deal, so I guess Gribbit is right on schedule with this. Hell, all you have to do is turn on a 75 watt incandescent and the equivalent CFL (about 18-20 watts) for a minute and then touch them. Why is the CFL so much cooler? BECAUSE IT’S NOT WASTING ENERGY BY TURNING IT INTO HEAT. How do you think that those 1960s Suzy Homemaker ovens baked cookies with just a light bulb? Jesus-Christ-in-a-toaster-oven, are these folks so blinkered stupid that they will oppose any technology that purports to be more efficient simply because “environmental issues” are largely supported by liberals and progressives? Is it all just idiot-gainsaying? If I said that liberals all agree that the sky is blue and not green, would they start arguing in favor of a moss-colored atmosphere?

    Back to the point, the one thing I wish was better known about CFLs is that they are not designed to work inside completely enclosed fixtures. This will shorten their lives. You can usually find this warning on the box but it’s typically in fine print. Some of the nicer recent developments include the instant-on types and higher color temperatures to mimic a daylight spectrum.

    I look forward to mature LED lighting. Right now though the up-front cost is prohibitive for many people and when compared to a CFL, the payback period is relatively long.

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