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Year: 2010 (Page 1 of 3)

High Light Bulb Changer

So you have a light bulb in a high ceiling fixture and no ladder.  What to do?  Make your own light bulb changer.

Materials needed:

Broom stick with standard Acme threads
An empty 2 liter plastic soda bottle
An old cotton t-shirt
Small amount of tape (electrical, duct, masking, whatever)
Sharp knife


1.) Cut the bottle approximately as shown in the photo.  Be careful because this kind of plastic is tough.  Both the knife and the plastic can cut you.  You don’t need or want a smooth clean edge on the plastic.  A ragged edge is fine.  (see below)

Top portion of bottle attached to broomstick.

2.) Screw the broomstick into the mouth of the bottle until it’s snug, then apply a wrap or two of tape as shown in the photo to make sure it stays in place.

3.) Take the old t-shirt and fold it once so there are four layers of material and carefully fit it into the bottle.  What I do is fold the t-shirt then lay it over a light bulb and use the bulb to gently press the shirt into the bottle.  Once the shirt is in place, you can replace bulbs all day long without readjusting the shirt.

Old T-Shirt Inserted

4.) Now you’re ready to go.  Gently press the tool up over the existing bulb and twist the broom stick counterclockwise to unscrew it.  Put the new bulb into the tool and install it.

BE GENTLE!  This device grips the bulb and gives a lot of leverage so it’s very easy to twist the bulb right off and break it.  Fingertip pressure is all you need to hold the broom stick.

The way it works is the sharp edge of the bottle tends to grab the t-shirt material so the shirt doesn’t slip.  When you twist, the cotton t-shirt material takes about a 1/8th turn wrap on the bulb and grips it.  The harder you twist, the tighter it grips.  A heavy cotton t-shirt works best and a dirty t-shirt grips better than a clean t-shirt.

How it looks when ready to use.

This device works equally well on incandescent bulbs and spiral CFLs (compact fluorescents).  For very small bulbs, fold the t-shirt twice before inserting it.  For other shapes like long skinny CFLs you might try the same methods but with differently shaped bottles.

The End is Nigh

As mentioned in a previous post, October of 2010 has five Fridays, five Saturdays, and five Sundays, which only happens every 823 years.  Strange as that may be, another apocalyptic moment is coming this Sunday:

10/10/10 10:10

Exciting, huh?

The problem to be solved, however, is to determine in which time zone this date and time signifies the precise moment of destruction of the universe.

Raise Interest Rates!

Here’s some lateral thinking for you: Since late 2008, the central banks of the world have been pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into the world’s banking and financial institutions in order to stimulate economic activity and head off a recession / depression. This is the right thing to do in a fiat money system when faced with this economic situation. (I’m not going to discuss my views on fiat money, but a fiat money system is what we have so that’s what we’ve got to work with.)

However the worldwide money situation is bizarre right now, upside-down. The stimulus money, which is now some trillions of dollars, has not been stimulating like it ought to. Why? Because banks are not lending the money but are hoarding it. The banks of the world are sitting on well over a trillion dollars and are not lending it out. Why? Because interest rates are extremely low, near zero, and have been low for a long time. The banks are waiting for interest rates to go up which will raise the effective value of the cash they are hoarding and they will start lending again.

I propose that the Federal Reserve should raise interest rates and that this will stimulate lending and thus stimulate the economy. This sounds bizarre but given the upside-down state that the world’s money systems are in, I think it would work.

What do you think?

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