Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent or LED?

Thomas Edison shows off a big-ass light bulb.

Thomas Edison shows off a big-ass light bulb.

What kind of light bulb to buy, as it turns out, is not easy question to answer. Energy consultant and off grid expert Dan Fink has an informative story in this month’s issue of Home Power Magazine, “Choosing the Right Light” that takes a look at the bewildering array of choices and what bulbs might be best in terms of cost, energy conservation and aesthetics.

Some takeaways:

  • The current way of comparing bulbs–lumens per watt–does not take into account how the eye responds to color. Incandescent bulbs give off a wide spectrum of light. Fluorescents and, to a lesser extent, LEDs do not give off as wide a spectrum of light which can make a room lit with them seem dimmer. In some situations incandescents can be a better choice.
  • LEDs are good for task lighting due to the directional quality of LED light. They are not so good for lighting an entire room.
  • Many compact florescents (CFL) will have short lifespans if you put them in sealed, enclosed or recessed lighting fixtures. You also have to check the label and perhaps even call the manufacturer to figure out if a CFL will work in a horizontal, base-up or base-down fixture.
  • CFLs perform poorly if turned on and off without at least 15 to 30 minutes to warm up.
  • CFLs contain mercury and other toxins and must be disposed of responsibly.
  • Stick to major brands. Avoid non-UL-listed cheap import bulbs.

A trip to the light bulb aisle at the hardware store is likely to stay confusing for some time. Manufactures are coming out with many new bulbs including more efficient incandescents as well as game changing LEDs and CFLs. And, according the article, the government may consider other factors such as color frequency in its light bulb ratings. Fink quotes Mark Rea, a lighting expert at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, “It’s still the wild, wild West out there with residential lighting and consumers still have to choose by trial and error.”

An Overdue Update on Phoebe

Phoebe

This is her cute face. Her surprised by the camera face. Her usual expression is more calculating. Even frightening.

I realized that it’s been a long time since we updated you all on how our cat Phoebe is doing–well over a year, actually. And at that time, we told you we didn’t expect her to live more than 9 more months.

Surprise! She’s been doing really well.

(For those of you new to the blog, Phoebe has a malformed heart. It’s missing important parts. Here’s the original post from 10/25/11)

Thank goodness for drugs and really smart kitty cardiologists. Thank you, Dr. Zimmerman! The first vet to diagnose her sent her home to die. Our lesson: seek out the good vets. The meds that keep Phoebe alive are not even expensive.

Her quality of life has really improved since diagnosis. It’s even improved since our last post about her. When she first began treatment, she was sick, breathing hard and moving slow. But ever since we got her meds adjusted correctly, she’s been spry and happy, not at all acting like an old cat anymore.

True, she’s not quite as hyperactive as our other two cats, but she beats up Buck, the youngest of our cats, every morning like clockwork, loves to savage the fishing pole toy, and is diligently destroying the underside of our sofa. The sofa is her great work, an evolving art piece about the nature of entropy.

She will have a short lifespan, though. The drugs just buy her a little time.  Dr. Zimmerman told us the oldest cat she knew with Phoebe’s rare condition made it to four years old. Phoebe has already passed her second birthday. I’ve noticed her breathing sounds a bit wet lately, so we’re going to the vet this week and we hope an adjustment of her diuretics will clear that up.

Knowing her time is short just makes her all the more precious. I’ve come to appreciate her as a real “cat’s cat.” The other two cats, Buck and Trout, known collectively as “The Boys”, are too friendly and simpleminded to do credit to the cat kingdom.

Meanwhile, Phoebe is a real cat, a stone cold killer, a witch’s familiar, a walking riddle, an evil genius, an Egyptian statue with scornful golden eyes. Erik is her devoted slave. Me, she doesn’t like that much–but I’m still in love with her.

Last of the Saddle Tramps

Mesannie Wilkins

Mesannie Wilkins riding Rex,  Depeche Toi on Tarzan

A wise man once told me it’s good practice to read books published before you were born. Last of the Saddle Tramps just makes the cut. Published in 1966, it is a memoir, Mesannie Wilkin’s accounting of her great journey from Minot, Maine to Los Angeles. On horseback.

In 1954, Mesannie was 63 and she didn’t think she’d survive another winter in Maine. She’d been a farmer all her life, but now her kin were dead, her stock gone, she was plagued by bad lungs, and the bank was foreclosing on her house. Worse, her doctor told her she only had two or so years left to live–if she lived quietly.

Instead of following his advice, she decided to spend almost all of her money on a cheap horse, and traveled to the Golden State with her little dog, Depeche Toi, the clothes on her back, $32.00 in her pocket, and very little else. Along the way, she met with great kindness–and scores of unforgettable characters.

I read this book in a single sitting–it is that engrossing. Her voice is honest and engaging and the clear prose is full of  slow, country wit and precise character sketches. (Kudos to her co-writer, Mina Sawyer.)  The humor caught me first, and then I began to boggle at how tough this woman was. Rawhide tough. Seriously, reading this made me wonder why I’ve ever complained about anything in my life.

This story is a reminder that you’re never too old to change your course, shake up your life–or even have a grand adventure. It’s also refreshing to read a book where the hero is an older woman. Such stories are scarce as hens’ teeth.

I won’t say more. Highly recommended. I was lucky enough to find this book at the library. It’s also sold through the publishing arm of the Long Rider’s Guild (I think?), Horse Travel Books, where they keep all sorts of obscure, horsey memoirs in print. Bless them. It’s also available at Amazon, and you might find a used copy here or there, too.

Saturday Linkages: Goats, Chainsaws and a Big Blue Rooster

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Mason Jar + Juice Carton = Resealable Dispenser

Inspiration
Bike Trailers http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/lloydkahn/~3/BGY9jmWITPc/bike-trailers.html …

11 things it took me 42 years to learn http://bit.ly/1175KcM

See the Documentary “Wonder: The Lives of Anna and Harlan Hubbard” if You Can by Allen Bush http://gardenrant.com/2013/07/see-the-documentary-wonder-the-lives-of-anna-and-harlan-hubbard-if-you-can.html?utm_source=feedly …

Crafty
Crafting with cat hair: no, I’m not making this up 

The Redventure Romp Cocktail by Amy Stewart http://gardenrant.com/2013/07/the-redventure-romp-cocktail.html?utm_source=feedly …

Vinyl Record Lamps http://www.dudecraft.com/2013/07/vinyl-record-lamps.html …

Combine a Mason Jar and Juice Carton into a Resealable Dispenser http://lifehacker.com/combine-a-mason-jar-and-juice-carton-into-a-resealable-845153794 …

Artist Jay Nelson’s Tiny Houseboat http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2013/07/artist-jay-nelsons-tiny-houseboat.html#.UfBzg3Afa-Q.twitter …

Humanist bathroom tiny stuff holder http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Ikeahacker/~3/wKFLUf0kLNU/humanist-bathroom-tiny-stuff-holder.html …

Livestock
Put The Goats To Work? http://hencam.com/thevintagehen/2013/07/put-the-goats-to-work/ …

How Long Do Chickens Live? | HenCam http://hencam.com/faq/2012/10/how-long-do-chickens-live-2/ …

Woman fined for letting horse poop inside UK McDonald’s http://barfblog.com/2013/07/woman-fined-for-letting-horse-poop-inside-uk-mcdonalds/ …

Be careful out there . . .
Chainsaws — Can We Talk? http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/lloydkahn/~3/DWbMVDFUSEE/chainsaws-can-we-talk.html …

Home Canning Hobby Leads to Near-Fatal Medical Emergency http://bit.ly/12GguN0 

Big blue cock erected on fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square http://gu.com/p/3hhpk/tw 

We’re all gonna die
Our Coming Food Crisis http://garynabhan.com/i/archives/2163 

A fresh perspective on alleged pesto outbreak in Italy http://barfblog.com/2013/07/a-fresh-perspective-on-alleged-pesto-outbreak-in-italy/ …

The Blip http://nymag.com/news/features/economic-growth-2013-7/ …