Let there be light loopholes!

While I like to think that my light bulbs and what I do with them are my own business, as we know, the government does not.

So I was delighted to see Glenn's link to a new rebellion against the ban on incandescent lights in the form of a hot new loophole:

Skirting EU law: The rebranding of incandescent bulbs as 'Heat Balls'

A German businessman is getting around a law banning incandescent bulbs by selling them under a different name.

You gotta hand it to German businessman Siegfried Rotthaeuser, who came up with a brilliant run around the European Union ban on conventional incandescent light bulbs -- he rebranded them as "Heat Balls" and is importing them for sale as a "small heating device."

Heat balls! Now, that's good. Almost sounds like a sex device, doesn't it? And we can't have the puritanical police banning sex devices, can we?

They are also surprisingly efficient:

...incandescent bulbs are fairly efficient when they are used as heaters, throwing off around 95 percent of the energy they draw as heat. In colder climates, using the bulbs for lighting isn't always an inefficient choice as the bulbs add to the warmth of the home.

The problem is that people will buy Heat Balls primarily as a way around the ban on incandescent bulbs. Rotthaeuser's Heat Balls could end up taking off in a market starved for the familiar warmth of the incandescent bulb.
Oh piffle! Heat balls (especially when the heat relates to a sex device) are a human right!

And, if marketed correctly, they are also an animal right. Yes, many animals need what are called heat lamps -- both as a heat source as well as a light source, Especially pet snakes and other cuddly herps:

Incandescent light fixtures are an inexpensive way to add heat to a pet reptile's habitat. Place the bulbs in protective metal light fixtures and clamp them on the lid of a metal-wire-covered cage for a secure daytime heat source. Incandescent bulbs make it possible for reptiles to bask in the glow of warm, bright heat in a similar fashion to basking in the sun in the wild.

   1. Standard household incandescent bulbs (tungsten or halogen) with clear or frosted opaque glass warm reptile habitats during the daytime. Twelve to 14 hours of white light is an average requirement for reptiles, according to Animal Planet. Special red or blue nocturnal incandescent heat bulbs are used at night. These bulbs emit heat without the glare of bright, white light. Incandescent bulbs can be attached to a timer to regulate basking hours. Most reptile set-ups also require lighting that provides UVA and UVB to maintain health.
   2. Although temperatures vary for different species of reptiles, as a rule of thumb, most habitats should maintain a temperature of 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Reach these temperatures by attaching incandescent heat bulbs to the outside of the reptile habitat, according to Animal Planet's online Reptile Guide. Heated rocks, under-tank heat pads and ceramic infrared heat emitters also elevate the temperature of a reptile habitat.
   3. Heating created by incandescent bulbs and other heat sources reduces a reptile's chance at developing infectious diseases and boosts his immune system, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual's Reptile Management guide. Providing additional heat sources replicates the animal's native habitat, making him happier and helping him aclimate faster to his captive environment.

Those government bureaucrats better not mess with animal care advice from the Merck Veterinary Manual, by God!

Incandescant bulbs are also a handy heat and light source for many other animals, from the lowliest aquarium fish to puppies and kittens. Why, it is no exaggeration to say that this right is grounded in natural law.

As long as the packaging says "NOT TO BE USED AS A LIGHT SOURCE FOR HUMANS," both buyers and sellers in this emerging gray market can probably get away with a lot of new wrinkles in their quasi-legal trade.  

I love it.

posted by Eric on 01.04.11 at 10:54 PM


I'm getting an EZ Bake oven and then I'll sue to be able to get some heat bulbs when the ban goes into effect here.

Veeshir   ·  January 5, 2011 9:16 AM

The "efficient heater" thing is amusing, since in fact roughly 100% of the energy of all household electrical devices ends up as heat in the end.

TallDave   ·  January 6, 2011 10:26 AM

Thanks! But Dave, um, didn't you just say "heat in the end"? Or did it just come out that way?

Eric Scheie   ·  January 6, 2011 1:11 PM

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