Alan Rogowsky: “Some years ago (20?), I read a great book by Arthur Herzog called “IQ 83″ – where a replicant DNA escapes from a lab and actually lowers everyone’s IQ to 83! Sounds almost funny (given that it seems to have happened already without anyone noticing) but it was a great/chilling read – now sadly out-of-print. If you find it somewhere, I recommend it.”

☞ A 1978 Simon & Schuster hardcover, 1980 Berkeley paperback, out-of-print but Amazon seems to know where we can get 3 copies.


“Dubya won? No way, bud!”


Kitty Vickers: “I have found that for about the same price as renting a book on tape you can buy it on eBay, listen to it and keep as long as you want it. Then you can sell it again on eBay at or near your original purchase price. Much cheaper.”


Albert Fosha: “Your recent columns discussing the benefits that accrue from replacing old-style incandescent lightbulbs with the new screw-in fluorescents piqued my curiosity regarding the actual savings that might be had. To that end, I went through a cost-benefit analysis of the effect of replacing several light bulbs at my home here in Western Washington. I had already replaced quite a few of the old lights with fluorescence bulbs, but further investigation indicated that there were still four locations that were candidates for change. The most used of the lights at these locations is turned on for an estimated 12 hours per day, with the least used being turned on for only 1½ hours per day. Lights with usage less than this were not considered as viable candidates.

“Based on the daily usage, the cost of the new bulbs, the difference in life between the old and the new bulbs, the cost savings generated by not having the incandescent bulbs burn out on a frequent(700 hour) basis during the 10,000 hour lifespan of the new bulbs, and the cost of electricity here (currently averaging around 6½¢ per kilowatt), the savings in electricity and bulb replacement was calculated for each of the locations where the lights were replaced. Because each location was different in wattage, usage, cost, etc., each light required a separate calculation. Bulb prices were those at a local discount home supply store, and the bulb lifespans were those printed on the cartons.

“Treating each case as a loan, with the cost of the new bulb as the amount loaned, the expected life span of the bulb as the span of the loan, and the weekly savings as the loan payment, the equivalent annual interest rate was calculated for each location. The actual cost savings from switching these four bulbs – not quite a dime a day – don’t seem very much. But the annual interest rate realized on the initial outlay
was huge, ranging from 44.6% in one location to 132% in another.

“This study indicated another interesting item (aside from the fact that a retired somewhat bored engineer with a computer is a dangerous thing) – namely, the amazingly large amounts of electricity that can be saved by things like this if everyone conserved. It would ‘generate’ as much electricity as a whole new power plant – and with none of the pollution.

“The replacement lights are up and operating. No noticeable decrease in brightness or convenience was noticed by any of the occupants here. It’s a no-brainer.”

Albert’s e-mail and analysis was actually somewhat longer than this. I took the liberty of trimming and adapting it in a few places. But he is dead on: We really ought to do this, as our Valentine’s Day gift to ourselves and our planet. For possible good rates on bulbs in bulk, click here. And, as someone suggested earlier, check out IKEA – for a while at least, they were selling compact fluorescents for $5 each.


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