The Sceptic Tank wonders why the EU is standing in the way of entrepreneurial spirit
The Sceptic Tank will never tire at marveling at the lengths otherwise intelligent people will go to in order to evade regulations that are designed to, you know, benefit society.
So hats off to Siegfried Rotthaeuser and his brother-in-law, the German entrepreneurs who have got round the EU ban on importing and distributing 75w and 100w light bulbs by renaming them as "heatballs".
Yup, they have seized on the reason incandescent light bulbs were banned – namely that they were so inefficient at producing light that they wasted more energy as heat than they ever produced as light – to effectively flout said ban. You've got to admire their nerve if nothing else. Kafka would be so proud.
In an orchestrated two fingers to those evil bastards in Brussels who are maliciously trying to save Europeans money on their energy bills, the Heatball website describes the light bulbs, sorry "heat balls", as "action art" that demonstrates "resistance against legislation which is implemented without recourse to democratic and parliamentary processes".
It goes on to stress that the "intended use of Heatballs is heating", apparently to keep the lawyers happy.
In a further sign that the dust on the horizon is being generated by four horsemen galloping in the general direction of civilisation, Reuters reported last month that the first batch of 4,000 "balls" sold out in three days.
The Sceptic Tank is only disappointed Rotthaeuser stopped at banned light bulbs and is currently working on a couple of exciting new business opportunities of his own. We're not sure where to source the supplies, but we reckon we could find a market for our innovative rapid metal distribution system (an AK47), self-heating fireside rug (live endangered tiger), and potent new room fragrancer (we think you can guess).
If you wish to order any of the above please arrange payment through unmarked notes to be left in the third bin on the left in the alley behind the Sceptic Tank's central London HQ.
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