December 17, 2009
Living in China, News of the Day, Politics
China Post, government waste, Post Office, USPS
I see in the news that the USPS has run up another multi-billion dollar deficit. Maybe it is time to re-think the necessity of this monstrosity.
I have lived in Shenzhen, China for more than a year. There is no mail service here like there is in the U.S. China Post consists of a handful of scattered offices and a few couriers on bicycles. There is no regular scheduled daily mail delivery.
In the year+ I have been here I have had two packages delivered to me, both by private carriers. I have never used China Post.
How do I live without a Post Office? It is simple. No one writes letters any more. Everyone uses email, cell phones, or instant messaging.
China’s is a cash economy. Bills and monthly statements are not needed. You pay as you go. Want to check your bank balance or brokerage account? Use the computer. Make a purchase online or from a catalog? A private carrier will deliver it. Pay your credit card bill? Do it online or go to your bank.
There is no junk mail here. Magazines are purchased at newsstands that are on every block. Newspapers are available online.
In most cases the Chinese way of life is inferior to that in the west. But they are far ahead of the west by not providing expensive, useless, government-funded services like the USPS.
The Post Office was founded in the 1700s. It might have been a good idea then, but its time has come and gone. It is time to kill this money wasting, useless, monstrosity.
I know it will never happen.
December 17, 2009
News of the Day, Politics
1984, health care, newspeak
President Obama told ABC News’ Charles Gibson in an interview that if Congress does not pass health care legislation that will bring down costs, the federal government “will go bankrupt.”
So if the government doesn’t spend more money, it will go bankrupt. The screams you hear are from logic being tortured.
December 17, 2009
CFL, energy efficient light bulbs, fluorescent, green living, stupid ideas
CFLs, or compact fluorescent lightbulbs are one of many wonderful ideas that are supposed to save the planet. I became interested in them when I saw a display sign at Wal-Mart that said they would last 5 years. I hate changing light bulbs, so they sounded good for that reason alone. The CFLs cost $6.99 each vs. $0.50 for incandescent.
I did a little reading about these miracle bulbs that burn 5 years. According to several websites, including the EPA’s, CFLs last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use 75% less energy. Sounds like a deal, so I replaced the 18 incandescent light bulbs in my small office with CPLs.
The EPA site said that the CFLs would pay for themselves in 6 months. They are supposed to last 10,000 hours vs 800-1000 hours for an incandescent bulb. That meant I should see about $1.00 reduction in my monthly electricity bill for each CFL I installed.
The result: I saw no noticeable reduction in the monthly electricity bill. The lights in my office were on about 12-14 hours a day, 5 days a week. The CFLs started burning out after 6 months or 1700 hours of usage.
Later I learned the CFLs contain toxic mercury and need special disposal handling. I also found out if you break one in your house you almost need a has-mat team to come in and clean it up properly.
So energy-efficient light bulbs join the pantheon of stupid, over-hyped, green ideas. They stand alongside hybrid cars, wind power, solar panels, eco-friendly diapers, and any number of green ideas that hardly work and are outrageously expensive.
Maybe if the government passed out some grant money the CFL could be perfected.