Links 2/18/08

Poverty is Poison Paul Krugman, New York Times

Citigroup Plans to Hire ‘Hundreds’ in Japan to Target Wealthy Bloomberg. I have long been skeptical of the portrayal of Japan as a basket case.

Iranian Oil Bourse Started Trading Today, Will Also Accept Roubles The Prudent Investor

Animal dung and climate change Roland Piquepaille’s Technology Trends

I’m calling BS on compact florescent light bulbs RFK Action Front. This made me feel sooo much better! I tried those bulb like a good environmentally conscious citizen ought to. Not only did I hate the light (and I bought the premium color corrected kind) but my cats did too.

Fat rights and responsibilities Larvatus Prodeo. LP sees this as a pathological manifestation of identity politics (hooray!)

Inspectors Verify Abuse Of Cows in California Washington Post. I find it really odd that the focus here is on “abuse of animals” (and I do believe in humane slaughter). Downers are a huge health risk. They might have BSE or other nasty ailments. Are we downplaying BSE because mention of it might make the public worried about beef?

Regardless, here’s corporate honesty for you, in the form of a classic “see no evil” defense:

Lawrence Miller, director of business affairs at Hallmark…..insisted, as has company head Steve Mendell, that Hallmark has never been found in violation of USDA rules since the current management team took over in 1998.

But USDA records indicate the company was cited in 2005 for several animal welfare violations, including “too much electric prodding.”

Asked how that comported with his claim of no citations, Miller said he was unaware of it.

“We certainly wouldn’t have failed to disclose that if we knew it was in the public record.”

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  1. Anonymous

    I’m calling BS on compact cars. Not only did I hate the ride, but my cats did too.

    I’m calling BS on global warming. I’ll believe it’s an emergency when the people who say it’s an emergency start acting like it’s an emergency.

  2. mmm

    I don’t think you’d recognize an emergency if it hit you on the head. And I bet Yves’ cats have better taste than yours.

  3. Anonymous

    I second your call on bullshit, and raise you a Darwin Award. This is a gross attempt by GE and Phillips to foist a more expensive light bulb on us to make more money. Mercury? oops, sorry, just clean it up with a rag! This is a ridiculous case of the environmental crazies getting way out of hand.

  4. Yves Smith

    8:28 AM,

    Well, since you asked…..

    I put one in the kitchen, where the new florescent was the only light source. The kitchen has a lot of white surfaces (walls, cabinet doors, counters, stove, fridge) and those lights make whites look lousy and heighten small differences in color among whites. It really is jarring in a room with a lot of white.

    The cats always run into the kitchen when anyone goes in because they hope they will get fed. When I put the bulb in, they ran in, squinted, and left. They continued to spend markedly less time in the kitchen, which was formerly their favorite place.

  5. Anonymous

    Yves, thanks, much appreciated. I haven’t noticed a problem with our cats, but we don’t have the severe conditions you describe; I’ve been wondering about it.

  6. Yves Smith

    If you don’t have a lot of white surfaces, or the white has a lot of yellow in it, the bulbs are probably fine. But oof, they are jarring with cool white colors!

    If these bulbs take off (as opposed to the LCDs, I’m waiting for them), I think you’ll see a lot of people tweaking their color schemes.

  7. Aristo

    I may be wrong, however the reason cats don’t like CFL’s is possibly because of ultra high frequency sound emitted fom the devices– not audible to humans, but irksome to animals.

  8. Yves Smith


    That is very interesting. It may be that those funny consumer bulbs emit more high frequency noise. One of the cats was in an office for a while (largely lit by florescents, but the tubular type) and he didn’t exhibit weird behavior there.

  9. Toby Rogers

    Hi Yves! Thanks for the link! Your site rocks. Who knew that light bulbs could generate so much discussion!? But the more I think about it, the more I feel like we’re being sold down the river with these $8 toxic light bulbs which are supposed to be good for us. Even a brief examination of the topic suggests there has got to be a better (non-toxic, less expensive) way. Plus I’ve added 3 new updates to my post. Thanks for getting people talking about the problem.

  10. Yves Smith


    I think a lot of people want to do the right thing, but then get confusion messages as to what the “right thing” is. And I am bothered that switching devices (which encourages more resource use and production and transportation costs) are promoted more than simple conservation measures, like switching off devices that use standby power, or making more use of public transportation. Of course, the US has design elements that make conservation hard. We don’t have sockets you can turn off at the wall, as you can in the UK and Australia, and very few cities have decent public transportation, for instance.

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