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I just got back from walking in the lovely sunshine. I’ve been joking that it’s such a beautiful day because my storm cloud coworker is taking the day off to golf. I stopped in the bathroom, and as I entered the dark room I heard the familiar snapping clinking sounds the fluorescent lights make as they warm to a green glow. Energy efficiency is great, but I had to wonder how often they had to change the lights since they turn on and off so much. That thought bounced me to another. I have a obsession with planned obsolescence and deterioration. It horrifies me that companies spend money to make sure their products break after a certain amount of time so you have to buy more.

How often do you have to change light bulbs that are out of reach in the most inconvenient places? Way too often. Sometimes a couple times a year. But that is the nature of a light bulb, eventually they burn out... Or at least the ones you buy at the store now do. Did you know there is a light bulb that's been working for 105 years? It’s been on for 105 years, way beyond the amount of time people are supposed to live. And yet a nightlight for a newborn would be lucky to hear the child's first words. Of course I don’t believe that all light bulbs made in 1901 would burn for over a hundred years but I bet they lasted longer and more could last hundred years. Do you think that light in you bathroom could last 10 years?I doubt it? Light bulbs have been designed to burn out so you have to buy more and increase the companies profits for their shareholders. I sometimes wonder what life will be like 100 years into the future if we allow this practice to continue. We have adjusted to paying $3 for gas, will we adjust to having to buy a new TV, stove and shower every month? Of course the shower will download new scents to wash you with and your oven will learn new recipes but what I wonder is at what point will people start to be pissed off about built in obsolescence. These are the things that run through my mind as I enter dark bathrooms.

More on the hundred year old light bulb here.

Break Me Gently - Jack Buser - Destroy All Music Melee


Jul. 14th, 2006 02:22 am (UTC)
Maybe someday we'll be able to have the means of production work for us instead of against us. I remember hearing a futurist speak many years ago and that was the thrust of what he thought was possible; that things will be built to last and as innovations arise the older versions are recycled. Things will be made as they are needed instead of needs being created for things.
Requires quite a different mindset however.
Jul. 14th, 2006 11:09 pm (UTC)
yeah, this doesn't jive with the capitalism currently being promoted. luckily the way the theory as to how the world works is there are two opposing factions that both end up dying out and leaving the new middle ground to divide again. Thus capitalism and communism will collapse and socialism will survive only to divide itself into two new opposites. if the US doesn't adapt it will fall like Rome; or so the sociology theory goes.