Al Copeland Award: Supplemental

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

I have an update to Matt’s oustanding nomination of Herbert Dow for this year’s Al Copeland Humanitarian of the Year Award. Dow, you will recall, is nominated for having used entrepreneurial ingenuity to circumvent corrupt political restrictions on his ability to serve his fellow human beings and improve the human condition.

Now comes this word from Reuters:

Siegfried Rotthaeuser and his brother-in-law have come up with a legal way of importing and distributing 75 and 100 watt light bulbs — by producing them in China, importing them as “small heating devices” and selling them as “heatballs.”

To improve energy efficiency, the EU has banned the sale of bulbs of over 60 watts — to the annoyance of the mechanical engineer from the western city of Essen.

Rotthaeuser studied EU legislation and realized that because the inefficient old bulbs produce more warmth than light — he calculated heat makes up 95 percent of their output, and light just 5 percent — they could be sold legally as heaters.

On their website (, the two engineers describe the heatballs as “action art” and as “resistance against legislation which is implemented without recourse to democratic and parliamentary processes.”

Costing 1.69 euros each ($2.38), the heatballs are going down well — the first batch of 4,000 sold out in three days.

Yeah, I’ll bet they did.

And here’s some food for thought for all you green-green lima beans out there:

Rotthaeuser has pledged to donate 30 cents of every heatball sold to saving the rainforest, which the 49-year-old sees as a better way of protecting the environment than investing in energy-saving lamps, which contain toxic mercury.

The spirit of Herbert Dow lives on!


4 Responses to Al Copeland Award: Supplemental

  1. matthewladner says:

    Love it!

  2. Greg Forster says:

    No shout-out for the TNG reference? You didn’t miss it, did you? Your pop-culture fu is weak!

  3. matthewladner says:

    I did 😦

    My popcu fu has dimmed. I must go back into training.

  4. Greg Forster says:

    Tell the gang at Wudang Mountain I said hi!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: