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New World Notes - The Lightbulb Conspiracy (Part One of Two)

08/05/2014 12:00 pm
08/06/2014 9:00 pm

This week on New World Notes: radio program #335, August 5, 2014, from 12:00 to 12:30 p.m. (and on Wednesday from 8:30 to 9:00 p.m.), host Kenneth Dowst excerpts an interesting documentary film about "planned obsolescence." That is, about products designed to fail early so another must be purchased--and the bad effects of that on our lives and our environment.

Topics include the international lightbulb cartel, which greatly reduced the life of bulbs, ... nearly indestructable nylon stockings, later made flimsy by DuPont, ... the original iPod, with a non-replaceable battery designed to fail early, ... the Epson InkJet printer's "stop working" chip, ... and other outrages.

The film was directed by Norway's Cosima Dannoritzer. Most of this radio adaptation was made by Robin Upton and previously broadcast on his radio show, Unwelcome Guests. I have condensed and slightly rearranged Robin's adaptation to fit the half-hour format of New World Notes. New World Notes previously broadcast this installment, in March 2011.

Fun fact: A lightbulb in the Livermore, California, firehouse has been burning continuously since 1901--for 113 years. See it live on Webcam. They don't make 'em like they used to! By way of contrast, the Livermore FD's first Webcam lasted all of 3 years before breaking. This is not a coincidence.

New World Notes is produced under the auspices (Latin for "gun") of WWUH-FM, a community service of the University of Hartford.

You can listen to any installment of New World Notes online or else download it (as an mp3 audio file) for later listening. The show is archived at both A-Infos Radio Project and (from #90 onwards) the Internet Archive. Either link should get you a reverse-chronological listing of available installments. Or browse the show's Web site: Each installment has a page; each page has links to the recorded audio; and a handy table of contents will quickly find the installment you want.

Series overview: Political and social commentary in a variety of genres. Exploring the gap between what we want--and what they're trying to make us settle for.

Catch New World Notes (all times Eastern): 

  • Sundays, 12:30 to 1:00 PM, WIEC-LP, FM 102.7 (Eau Claire, WI)
  • Tuesdays, Noon to 12:30 PM, WWUH FM 91.3 (West Hartford, CT); also on WAPJ FM 89.9 and 105.1 (Torrington, CT), WJDW FM 89.7 (Somers, CT), and WWEB FM 89.9 (Wallingford, CT)
  • Tuesdays, 8:30 to 9:00 PM, WWUH FM 91.3 (West Hartford, CT)
  • Fridays, 10:30 to 11:00 AM, WHUS FM 91.7 (Storrs, CT)
  • Saturdays, 8:00 to 8:30 AM, WAZU FM 90.7 (Peoria, IL) & online. Repeats Mondays at 12:30 AM.
  • Saturdays, 1:00-1:30 PM, KRFP FM 92.5, Radio Free Moscow (Moscow, ID) 
  • Various days & times (multiple times per week), KGIG FM 104.9 (Modesto, CA) & online. Same on KHCF FM 89.9 (Gilroy, CA).

Any time: Listen to or download any installment. Just go to New World Notes and click a link to the audio at the top of the page. (Every installment has a page on the Web site, and every page has links to the audio.)