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The Chinese Town Where Old Christmas Lights Go

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the end-of-the-line dept.

China 117

retroworks writes "Shanghai based reporter Adam Minter visits where recycled Christmas Tree lighting goes in China. Visiting Shijao, the town known as the Mecca for Christmas tree light recycling, he finds good news. The recycling practices in China have really cleaned up. Plastic casings, which were once burned, are now recycled into shoe soles in a wet process. Minter concludes that even if you try to recycle your wire in the U.S., the special equipment and processes for Christmas light recycling have been perfected in China 'to the benefit of the environment, and pocketbooks, in both countries.'"

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BAh humbug (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492426)

they are depriving american serfs of jerbs at minium wage!

Re:BAh humbug (3, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492452)

Not really. Ever hear of RoHS? [wikipedia.org]

That means that every toy you buy has a planned obsolescence, and that it will be less harmful for Chinese villagers to wade through your garbage.

Everybody wins! Corporations get to sell you the same thing every 2 years, Chinese peasants get cancer later in age, and, well, that's it. But keep buying that crap - you are the pillar of the American economy.

Re:BAh humbug (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492490)

Ever hear of RoHS?

While I'm sure there's a US equivalent, this is an EU directive. And while I've made the occasionally entreaty for Europeans to pay for our (US's) boondoggles, they aren't putting out. For some reason, it isn't going the other way either.

Re:BAh humbug (0)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492622)

this is an EU directive

Oh, wow, so you guys don't have any balls and gotta do it! We do it because it helps our economy.

Re:BAh humbug (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38494704)

We do it because it helps our economy.

And if the people saying that sort of thing actually would check if it were helping the economy, then it'd be a good thing.

Re:BAh humbug (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38494524)

I can't remember the last time I was offered an electronic device that doesn't purport to be RoHS-compliant. Even electronic components are almost always RoHS now.

Re:BAh humbug (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38494660)

So EU regulations really are sapping our precious electronics.

Re:BAh humbug (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38493458)

"Not really. Ever hear of RoHS? "

Rodents of Herculean Size?

Re:BAh humbug (1)

DigiTechGuy (1747636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493628)

I used to bullseye womprats in my T-16 back home, they're not much bigger than two meters...

Re:BAh humbug (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#38495596)

That means that every toy you buy has a planned obsolescence

I think everybody has missed your point ... good try though.

First (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492432)

First post!

Glad to see China taking environmentally friendly steps.

Re:First (-1, Offtopic)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492458)

They do the same with executions.

Re:First (2)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492470)

They do the same with executions.

How so? Turn them into shoe soles in a wet process?

Re:First (4, Funny)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492480)

Exactly. Human soles are eternal after all.

Re:First (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493800)

Execution vans. Clean, quiet, and could probably print out the bill for the family.

From copying to innovation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492440)

Getting from Christmas tree lights to slipper soles, isn't simple. It requires a bit of innovation and tinkering. Yong Chang's system, for example, took a full year to perfect (one of Li's relatives, a college-educated engineer who now runs their business operations, designed it.

SEE! Chinese are innovative.

Re:From copying to innovation. (3, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492756)

I trade the market and this was always a question for me, can the Chinese be innovative. And here we have it, they can be innovative. Not that I thought they couldn't. I was just wondering WHEN.

Here is the problem that the US faces, less so in Europe. WTF does America do anymore? I mean really?

Re:From copying to innovation. (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493002)

Oh, of course they can be innovative.

I recall seeing a news story about bootleg cell phones, and the Chinese factories that made them actually added features to the designs after they reverse-engineered them.

Re:From copying to innovation. (4, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493118)

And here we have it, they can be innovative. Not that I thought they couldn't. I was just wondering WHEN.

Could you have come up with the idea of watering down milk and then adding a poisonous chemical that shows up as protein in some tests to cover it up?

Re:From copying to innovation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38494300)

It's not being innovative - it's being paid to take our trash and being paid to sell it back to us - purely profit, aside from the shipping fees and huge toll on the debt - but hey, in for a penny in for a pound, and we've got several hundreds of trillions pennies in to leverage against/with/ignore and shoot for a 1 world communist party.

Re:From copying to innovation. (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38495086)

No, but we can have trans fat & corn syrup allowed in high amounts, and pizza considered as a vegetable.

Re:From copying to innovation. (2, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493390)

WTF does America do anymore? I mean really?

It's a common rhetorical, but it doesn't really work, does it?

We're near the largest in:
Auto manufacturing, aviation manufacturing, nautical manufacturing, space manufacturing, and high tech manufacturing. Grain production, dairy production, meat production, fruit production, and vegetable production. Software, movies, books, websites, music, and television. That's off the top of my head.

Or, to put it slightly differently, we are ninth in the world in GDP per capita, number one in the world in GDP, and our GDP is increasing both absolute and per-capita. We do everything, and we're pretty darned good at it, too. The only remotely plausible sense in which we are not good at everything is in the sense that we are no longer laughably far out in front of everyone else like we were 40 years ago.

Now, I think we should be trying to be laughably far out in front of everyone else. I even think we have the potential to do so and I have some solid data on a few key points to back up my belief. But that doesn't mean we are doing poorly yet -- we have a long way left to fall, even at our current lackluster rate of climb.

Re:From copying to innovation. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493618)

The main thing we are failing at right now is getting jobs for people with no useful skill. Or rather, people whose useful skill can be done more economically by someone making $100 /month in a poorer country. Talk about GDP and all is fine, and frankly very few in my circle here in the Northeast are affected by the "bad" economy, but we really do need something for the millions of unemployed to do.

Re:From copying to innovation. (3, Insightful)

Type44Q (1233630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493784)

Auto manufacturing, aviation manufacturing, nautical manufacturing, space manufacturing, and high tech manufacturing. Grain production, dairy production, meat production, fruit production, and vegetable production. Software, movies, books, websites, music, and television.

And it all sucks. Yes, I generalize... but my point is valid:

Our automobiles are a total and outright embarrassment.

We're making evolutionary (rather than revolutionary) advances in aviation (if you call over-complicating them an advance - fly by wire, anyone?) but who's going to buy them, who wouldn't already be manufacturing their own?

Nautical manufacturing? For, pleasure boats? No; that chapter is clearly coming to a close as there'll soon be no middle class left to sustain that. Commercial fishing? Right! Cargo freighters and oil tankers? Perhaps for a little longer, but it's hardly a growth industry; the days of cheap goods and affordable oil (subsidized by the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency) are coming to an end and anyone with a brain cell can see that.

Our food production? Sure... if you call that pesticide-ridden, nutritionally-devoid, utterly-without-flavor sludge "food," then you're absolutely right.

Books, movies, software? Pfft. How much do you think those "industries" are actually contributing to this country (as opposed to the corporate coffers conveniently located in tax shelters?)

No, we're fucked... and anyone who says otherwise is either a total moron or has an agenda.

Re:From copying to innovation. (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38494312)

Fly by wire is not an over complication. The alternatives are old-fashioned steel cables and pulleys, and hydraulics. Both are more complicated and more prone to failure.

Re:From copying to innovation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38494500)

Fly by wire still uses hydraulics. However, using electronics in the control system also saves mass.

Re:From copying to innovation. (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38494596)

On paper, definitely. In reality, the various software needed [to manage an incredibly complicated aircraft-wide network of disparate systems] makes today's aircraft vulnerable to a vast array of potentially unpredictable problems that the aircraft of yesteryear weren't plagued with.

Re:From copying to innovation. (1)

thrich81 (1357561) | more than 2 years ago | (#38496282)

I'm going to have to pile on to you for the "fly-by-wire" comment. With personal experience in both types, I can tell you, fly-by-wire airplanes will do things which the old fashioned ones won't. For example, the F-16 is aerodynamically unstable -- a pilot without the help of the computers can't fly it. This built-in instability combined with the flight control computers gives the aircraft the ability to outmaneuver the old ones.

Re:From copying to innovation. (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38494606)

The big problem with all those things the the US makes/does is that most of it is consumed internally, rather than exported to the world. The US balance of trade showed the biggest deficit ever in 2006; that is, the US imported more goods/services and exported more money than ever before.

Take automobiles. The US is home to two of the biggest auto manufacturers in the world- Ford and GM (plus also Chrysler). However, I've never seen or heard of a non-luxury US export car in Europe. We have plenty of Fords and Opels/Vauxhalls, sure, but we have all the factories over hear too. Crikey, look at the first sentence from the Wikipedia article on the Ford Fiesta:

The Ford Fiesta is a front wheel drive supermini/subcompact manufactured and marketed by Ford Motor Company and built in Europe, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, China, India, Thailand and South Africa. The current-generation Fiesta is marketed worldwide.

The only reason the US is such a big car producer is because it is also a huge car consumer. That doesn't create much wealth, just moves it around.

I'm sure they knew of him before he knew of them. (-1, Flamebait)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492446)

If anything, the Chinese (and like-minded Third World countries) make a point to detect inspections early enough to clean up things. Whether it'd be forwarding the information that an inspector has come in the country to the factory (and thus clean out evidence) or just showing the good parts of an operation like this, it only shows a good face - and no real improvement. When a business is able to control a government in such a manner, it won't matter how much of a surprise you attempt.

(Awaiting modbombing and overwhelming "you don't understand"'s from the 50 Cent Party)

Re:I'm sure they knew of him before he knew of the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492510)

(Awaiting modbombing and overwhelming "you don't understand"'s from the 50 Cent Party)

Here is something you can't understand
How I could just kill a man.

... oh wait, that was the Cypress Hill party, nevermind.

Re:I'm sure they knew of him before he knew of the (2)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492562)

If anything, the Chinese (and like-minded Third World countries) make a point to detect inspections early enough to clean up things.

How do they hide the clouds of black smoke that used to be visible from the fields around town as stated in the article. If they have perfected a system to remove the plumes of smoke then I think we can consider that to be good enough.

(Awaiting modbombing and overwhelming "you don't understand"'s from the 50 Cent Party)

So you expect the flames? You do realise that there is a legitimate moderation of flamebait that suits your message perfectly. You can hardly complain if people mod you down when you tell them the reason that they should do so.

Re:I'm sure they knew of him before he knew of the (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492816)

How do they hide the clouds of black smoke that used to be visible from the fields around town as stated in the article.

Probably in a different village that reporters don't have access to. That's the usual way of things.

Re:I'm sure they knew of him before he knew of the (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492868)

How do they hide the clouds of black smoke that used to be visible from the fields around town as stated in the article. If they have perfected a system to remove the plumes of smoke then I think we can consider that to be good enough.

They don't. The process is just harmful in a different way(read: chemical burns & exposure).

Re:I'm sure they knew of him before he knew of the (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492564)

The party of China must look back a few years to understand:

Sex. [youtube.com]

Money. [youtube.com]

Competition. [youtube.com]

Re:I'm sure they knew of him before he knew of the (2)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492620)

So you're saying to expect to be modded down for your dinner party racism?

You called it, I guess.

Re:I'm sure they knew of him before he knew of the (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492768)

I remember you, you called me a racist for daring to suggest that the Chinese have a habit of cutting corners here and there.

If the lead in toys and melamine in milk aren't proof enough, that was the day before that train fell off the rails and they tried to bury it to hide the evidence - while there were people still in it.

Re:I'm sure they knew of him before he knew of the (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38494970)

There's a subtle difference, though, between claiming it's *only* the Chinese and "other Third World countries" that do such things though while implicitly holding up the USA as some sort of yardstick to aspire to, as suggested by the OP.

It's casual racism.

I'm not disputing the fact that there are Chinese companies cutting corners or otherwise doing things cheaply to save a buck, but it's not the exclusive domain of "anyone who's not us" (we'll leave aside the outdated 'third' world country comment).

So, by the metric we're using, all US companies do their best to fuck over their workers, lobby to keep service staff under minimum wage and keep laws around to be able to hire and fire at will so that no one can accumulate any holiday pay, and like Union Carbide are all totally fine setting up shop in other countries and poisoning them then denying anything ever happened. They can just kill 3000 local residents in India with one of the most unsafe chemical plants ever constructed and when a large incident occurs you just abandon it (I mean, why clean it up?! This is America! We have Mexicans to clean shit up after us!) leaving a site with open pools of mercury lying around, and with all manner of persistent organic solvents seeping into the ground water.

Yup, sounds pretty typical of an American company to me. They're still dodging responsibility to this day.

Of course, when you have a habit of determining that it's cheaper to pay the legal costs of anyone who sues you when their family members burn to death rather than fixing your shoddy American-made product, no wonder nothing good is made in America any more.

See, I can do it too!

Re:I'm sure they knew of him before he knew of the (0)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493490)

So you expect the flames? You do realise that there is a legitimate moderation of flamebait that suits your message perfectly. You can hardly complain if people mod you down when you tell them the reason that they should do so.

With any article concerning China, there seems to be an even greater consistency of criticism being attacked with high volume. I only wish to pre-empt such activity.

China's "50 Cent Party" [wikipedia.org] - paid commentators to guide opinion.

Bull (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492450)

The practices for this specific thing may have been cleaned up but China is still buried in a toxic wasteland. I have zero reason to believe they care one whit about the environment...

Re:Bull (2, Insightful)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492472)

Seems to me to be more about capturing cheap resources for cheap products that will themselves end up in a burn or landfill. It's just delaying the inevitable.

Re:Bull (2)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492500)

Isn't that the point of the "Reuse" part of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle"? To minimise the additional resources extracted when convertable 'waste' is at hand?

Re:Bull (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492532)

That assumes a level of altruism. I see this as merely cheaper to obtain material rather than trying to reduce waste. Given China's very recent history I am skeptical. I see someone already modded me down above for a rather neutral statement of opinion. I would love to be proved wrong but until then I am skeptical.

Consumption resumption. (5, Insightful)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492468)

Indeed, if there's a weak environmental link in the chain, it's the American consumers who start it by buying tens of millions of pounds of Christmas tree lights every year, only to throw them into the recycle bin, guilt free, when a bulb breaks. But Li, for one, doesn't mind: that waste is the raw material for his green business.

The real story is that Americans are so wasteful that they'll throw away a string of lights for the sake of one bulb.

BTW wonder how their process will deal with LED lights?

Re:Consumption resumption. (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492516)

Do people really do this? Is it some sort of laziness, or are people actually unaware that you can change the bulbs? And that it's not even hard to change them?

Re:Consumption resumption. (3, Insightful)

robbak (775424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492538)

Try explaining to your average consumer just how you find exactly which bulb has failed. Many of these things use globes in series, for those who do not know.

Designed to fail (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492596)

That's the thing. They are connected in series in ORDER to fail. THAT'S THE POINT.

Re:Designed to fail (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492922)

I thought it was equally much a simple/cheap way to use low-voltage bulbs without a transformer?

Re:Designed to fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38494026)

That was probably the main reason.

Sturdiness means wasted resources (5, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493302)

They are connected in series in ORDER to fail. THAT'S THE POINT.

I wonder why should two different people waste mod points on an AC who spews bullshit like this.

They are in series because it saves a lot of copper. In series you use one thin wire and no transformer is needed. You add enough low-voltage bulbs in series to get the line voltage and the current is that of one single bulb.

If they were in parallel you'd need two wires thick enough to transmit the total current of all the bulbs added together, plus a transformer to lower the voltage. Those tiny bulbs cannot have too much voltage because the filament must fit inside them, the higher the voltage the longer the filament must be. There's a limit on how thin you can draw a tungsten filament, so ultimately it must be made longer to have the needed impedance.

Re:Consumption resumption. (4, Informative)

million_monkeys (2480792) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492886)

There's no need to explain how to find failed bulbs. Modern lights are designed to keep working with burnt out bulbs. A dead bulb isn't going to affect the rest of the strand. So no searching needed, you just replace the unlit bulbs (or leave them if you're lazy to bother). The lights are still wired in series, but there's a shunt in the bulbs that allows the current to pass if the filament burns out.

Re:Consumption resumption. (1)

sirambrose (919153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493420)

If a bulb comes loose or gets twisted, that can still take out the whole strand. I bought a strand recently that wouldn't turn on. I had to pull out each bulb until I found the one with the bent leads. If the strand wasn't attached to a Christmas tree that I bought on clearance, I probably would have returned it to the store and it would have ended at the recycling plant in China.

Re:Consumption resumption. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492666)

Most LED based lights do not have replaceable LED diodes

Re:Consumption resumption. (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493182)

Um... all the strings I've seen, they are replacable. They are made just like regular strands with the removable socket, and the 3mm led sets in there with bent legs. It's trivial to pull the diodes for other uses, or replace them.

Re:Consumption resumption. (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493754)

Most the ones I've seen for sale do have replaceable lamps, and even come with a couple of spares in the box. And the LEDs are standard (except for the lens shape) 5mm LEDs which simply have their leads bent into the socket adaptor. I've also seen some with soldered 3mm LEDs that have a plastic "Christmas light" shape hot-glued onto them.

This means that even a dead strand is still desirable for picking out the LEDs for making cool projects with. And since they already have matching sockets, even the sockets could be desirable for cool projects.

Unfortunately, at the Goodwill salvage outlet store that I go to every now and then, I've only seen one strand of LED lights there (compared to at least two dozen incandescent strands), and someone else snapped it up before I realized what it was.

Re:Consumption resumption. (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38494352)

Yeah, but good luck getting replacement bulbs beyond the two (and one flasher) included in the box.

Re:Consumption resumption. (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492528)

When a new string of lights costs two dollars, its kind of hard to justify buying replacement bulbs or repair tools. But then I use LED christmas lights and have yet to have one of them go bad.

Re:Consumption resumption. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492648)

Almost all strings of christmas lights I have bought have included a couple of extra bulbs (that get lost soon after cristmass). Even one of the LED kind I bought included an extra "bulb".

Re:Consumption resumption. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492720)

Yes, but if you have two bulbs that go bad it can take a considerable amount of time and effort to locate the bad bulbs. Even at minimum wage it makes more sense to just work a half hour than it does to spend the time fixing a $2 string of lights.

Re:Consumption resumption. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492776)

If they were made by someone being paid minimum wage rather than slave labour then they'd cost more and it would be worthwhile to fix them. In fact, lots of things used to be like that.

But it's not as if finding the faulty bulb is particularly taxing. You can do it while watching TV or chatting.

Re:Consumption resumption. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492712)

I spent a half hour unsuccessfully trying to find the broken bulb in a string of lights. Ultimately, I ended up finding a dozen or so ones that wouldn't light before I gave up. With the amount of time I spent on it, I could have worked an extra half hour or so and just bought another string. It's hard to say how much more time it would have taken me to find out what the issue, for all I know it could have been a wire and not a bulb.

Last tester I tried was really hit or miss and not much better than manually moving bulbs around.

Re:Consumption resumption. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492766)

so wasteful

Would they be so wasteful if there weren't 'disposably' cheap Asian made replacements at the big box store? Maybe our stores need to be filled with the products of expensive US labor and regulation. Might make a big dent in the 'consumerism' we all love to hate.

Re:Consumption resumption. (4, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492782)

The real story is that Americans are so wasteful that they'll throw away a string of lights for the sake of one bulb.

The real story is that the EU made China clean up. Okay, Japan deserves some of the credit too.

The EU has introduced various rules aimed at cleaning up the pollution created why products are manufactured and disposed of, as well as protecting people's health. ROHS and WEEE are the most well known, and although technically the only apply to countries in the EU the reality is that China has to abide by them as well in order to sell to us and then recycle our waste.

It is just as shame that two other important initiatives, namely forcing manufacturers to standardise on USB micro/mini for charging and allow batteries to be replaced and removed for disposal, seem to have stalled. None the less it is a triumph for our left-wing socialist nanny-state anti-business anti-competitive anti-trade anti-consumer ecomentalist tree-hugging undemocratic bureaucratic United States of Europe. We made a real difference to our own lives and those of people in China, and even to people in the US since they get a lot of the same stuff from China that we do.

Re:Consumption resumption. (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38494740)

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to freeride European sacrifice just as much as any other American. But have you ever considered that maybe all this bureaucratic wheel spinning isn't that good for you?

Re:Consumption resumption. (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493116)

The real story is that Americans are so wasteful that they'll throw away a string of lights for the sake of one bulb.

BTW wonder how their process will deal with LED lights?

But it never really is one bulb is it? It's one bulb that takes out a potentially long string. On top of that the smaller the bulbs the less likely they are the replaceable types. Different manufacturers also make slightly different bulbs which makes fixing a string potentially impossible. The REAL story is that people manufacture disposable crap. With the cost of a new set of lights less than 10minutes of my hourly rate it gets hard to justify crapping around with a set of lights for an hour.

I got the shits at throwing out old lights 2 years ago. I switched to LED Christmas lights and have not looked back since. 2 years on not a single dead bulb, not one fault finding session. I highly recommend them to anyone, and I doubt you'll find quite as many of them in the landfill.

Re:Consumption resumption. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38493546)

are you people really this stupid? people don't throw out an entire string of lights for the sake of 1 bulb, and even if they did how would they find a Christmas trees recycler???

"the Mecca for Christmas tree light recycling" (4, Funny)

not_surt (1293182) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492542)

Surely in this case "the Jerusalem for Christmas tree light recycling" would be more fitting?

Re:"the Mecca for Christmas tree light recycling" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492556)

ITYM "Bethlehem".

Don't know much Islam, don't know much biology.... (5, Informative)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492702)

Surely in this case "the Jerusalem for Christmas tree light recycling" would be more fitting?

No, Mecca is the better word - there's a reason we use it. We say something is the 'mecca' for an activity or industry because of the Hajj [wikipedia.org] . Almost two million foreigners a year visiting one city for one specific ritual makes a pretty good metaphor for colossal, single-minded undertakings - the kind of single-mindedness you see in one town recycling billions of pounds of electrical waste, for example.

Evoking Jerusalem would be a confusing and less accurate metaphor for the sake of being cute.

Re:Don't know much Islam, don't know much biology. (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492726)

And needlessly demeaning Mecca is better? Seriously, Mecca is more than just the end point of a massive annual pilgrimage.

Re:Don't know much Islam, don't know much biology. (4, Informative)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493142)

From the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary:

"Mecca (as n. a Mecca) a place which attracts people of a particular group or with a particular interest: Holland is a Mecca for jazz enthusiasts."

Mecca in the dictionary has two meanings, as A noun and as a proper noun. We're using one form here, the other form being completely irrelevant. But I wish you all the best of luck in getting a correct and common use of an English word changed.

Re:Don't know much Islam, don't know much biology. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38494032)

It's not demeaning. But your need to appear offended demeans yourself.

Re:Don't know much Islam, don't know much biology. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38494368)

Why, exactly, is it demeaning? The residents of Makkah, along with all other Muslims, believe in the miraculous virgin birth of Isa (Jesus). It's Easter (and solar calendars) they disagree with.

Re:Don't know much Islam, don't know much biology. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38494774)

And needlessly demeaning Mecca is better?

I'm not worried. Sounds like you'll let us know, if it ever happens.

agree wholeheartedly with the comrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492654)

the system benefits the environment and the workers, obviously.

why else would wall street support it?

i know there are some people who still complain - about mine tailings, runoff, lack of an EPA, endemic corruption, etc. but they are the typical whiners and protestors you find in any country.

the guys really running the show - the Chinese Communist Party and their partners at Goldman Sachs + other firms, have only the best interests of the environment and the nation at heart.

The most interesting question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492660)

what have HOSTS files have to do with all of this?

Re:The most interesting question is (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493186)

Bwahahahaha.

APK is always a good target around here.

wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492676)

Christmas lights... lol, what a waste religion is.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492992)

we Buddhists and Taoists aren't any better. I wonder what the carbon emissions amount to for the billions of incense sticks we burn every year?

Re:wow (2, Funny)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493334)

A Christmas tree is a completely secular symbol, and you are a retard. That is all.

Re:wow (1)

LiMikeTnux (770345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493474)

He didnt even mention a christmas tree! Also, does it matter how these traditions started if hes just saying theyre wasteful now?

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38494188)

you are aware that many people use 'Christmas lights' for decorations. yes? hindus. buddhists. athiests. jews. etc. etc. etc.
and a 'christmas tree' was pagan amongst other religions.

Cue whiny fighting... (4, Funny)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38492754)

Now we'll get to listen to conservative bitching about overregulation and how without so many damn environmental laws that recycling could happen here. Then the liberals will answer that corporations would never pay a living wage, or even minimum wage, to do that here when it can be done by miserable overworked hut dwellers in China - environmental laws or not.

They're both probably right, and both answers make me equally depressed. Exporting work and materials that American liberals won't allow here because of well-meaning but often moronic regulations, but which American conservatives probably wouldn't do here anyway because they're cheap fucks.

I need a drink.

The market is collective planning (3, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493342)

well-meaning but often moronic regulations

There are people who don't realize how immensely detailed regulations must be to work. When regulations don't let recyclers release some toxic waste the result is that everything becomes toxic waste.

Unfortunately those people didn't learn from history. The theory was that a well planned and regulated economy would be more efficient than capitalism, and too many people cannot see that things don't work that way.

Countries with planned economies could never make detailed enough plans for it to work efficiently. If you do not produce enough six-millimeter bolts with hex heads you will not be able to make enough 1/4 HP electric motors so you will not have enough refrigerators.

When you consider all the different products an industrial economy needs you would need the whole population of the country working in the plans to make sure all the items needed will be available.

That's what's called "capitalism". A feedback system where the production of the economy is dynamically adjusted as needed. There's a control variable to allow one to compare the relative urgency in producing each item, this variable is called "price".

Government regulation should be limited to overall guiding principles, not detailed specifications.

Re:The market is collective planning (1)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 2 years ago | (#38494518)

Government regulation should be limited to overall guiding principles, not detailed specifications.

I would agree if pollution had a direct cost associated with it.

There are many things which have a large value to society (clean air) which have a near zero cost to the people impacting it (air pollution costs $0).

For capitalism without government regulation to work, someone needs to own the air and be able to charge for modifying its contents. Same for water sources such as large bodies of lakes and oceans; etc.

Side effects of industry go well beyond the companies bottom line. I'm a big fan of Nuclear energy but can't imagine running the plants without regulation and zero fees for radioactive waste (airborn, waterborn, or other).

Also pretty certain you would be annoyed if I bought your neighbours property and built an open pit coal fired power plant (I.e. no smoke stacks or even a building containing it; just a pit in the ground). Regulation prevents this today; not capitalism.

Re:The market is collective planning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38494738)

It really depresses me that this got modded "funny".

Re:The market is collective planning (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38494752)

Computers have imporved a lot since the old USSR. How does your computer with billions of transistors know how to move information around inside itself to meet your needs without using money inside it?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transistor_count [wikipedia.org]

How does Debian know what software to make and maintain? Can emails and chat messages act as currency?

Soon we will have print-on-demand with 3D printers. Does that not also change things? We may also have recycle-on-demand with nanotech devices.

An alternative idea for designing sustainable and flourishing economies:
http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com/oscomak/ [kurtz-fernhout.com]

Even if capitalism coudl be made to work sustainably (including if externalities are accounted for through government regulation, taxes, and subsidies), then we still need a basic income to make sure the market hears the needs of everyone. See, from 1964:
http://www.educationanddemocracy.org/FSCfiles/C_CC2a_TripleRevolution.htm [educationa...ocracy.org]
"The industrial system was designed to produce an ever-increasing quantity of goods as efficiently as possible, and it was assumed that the distribution of the power to purchase these goods would occur almost automatically. The continuance of the income-through-jobs link as the only major mechanism for distributing effective demand -- for granting the right to consume -- now acts as the main brake on the almost unlimited capacity of a cybernated productive system."

Or more recently, from the "free" encyclopedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income_guarantee [wikipedia.org]

Ironically, it is EU regulations that forced a lot of this cleanup (as another poster commented on).

The success of central planning (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38496198)

Countries with planned economies could never make detailed enough plans for it to work efficiently. If you do not produce enough six-millimeter bolts with hex heads you will not be able to make enough 1/4 HP electric motors so you will not have enough refrigerators.

That's a classic "free market" claim. Then look at how Wal-Mart works.

Wal-Mart is a centrally planned economy, run from a headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Store managers have almost no autonomy in the Wal-Mart system. Even the store thermostats are controlled from Bentonville. Purchasing is centralized in Bentonville, where vendors go to the famous Corridor of Doom to present their products to Wal-Mart buyers. ("What can you do for Wal-Mart today?" is how each buyer starts the conversation.)

Everything is bar-coded or has RFID tags. Wal-Mart insisted on vendors providing bar-codes on everything. Everything entering or leaving a Wal-Mart store or warehouse gets scanned, and Central Control (the data center in Jane, MO [joplinglobe.com] , about 15 miles from Bentonville) gets all the data each day.

Wal-Mart's data cycle is daily, and their planning cycle is weekly. Most small retailers don't have that clear an idea of what their stores are actually doing. This gives Wal-Mart a competitive advantage.

That's a level of control the USSR could only dream of. It's interesting to speculate whether the USSR's style of communism would have worked if it had survived into the era where data collection, communications, and computing made central planning really effective. Gosplan, the USSR's national planning operation, had a monthly data cycle and a yearly planning cycle. They also had a lot of phony data in the system, because it was being summarized at lower levels. It's easy to fake "we made 10,000 widgets". It's hard to fake "we made 10,000 widgets, shipped in these transactions, and scanned in by the recipients".

Wal-Mart runs a bigger economy than Gosplan ever did.

Re:The success of central planning (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38497814)

Wal-Mart is a centrally planned economy, run from a headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Sure, but Target is not run from Bentonville. Neither is Sears or Amazon, or JCPenney. If you cannot find something you need on WalMart there are alternatives.
The only alternative supplier they had in the Soviet Union was the black market, the Russian Mafia. WalMart is not a closed system like the Soviet Union was and Cuba still is.

WalMart is just one of many suppliers of common household items, it's nowhere close to the complexity of a modern industrial economy.

Efficient as modern data processing systems may be, they still fall short of what a country's economy needs. Take every single part in every single equipment there is. Consider the machines needed to make each of those parts. Then the parts in those machines. The machines needed to make the parts that make the machines.

If you count just the different types of fasteners on the market, bolts, rivets, screws, nails, there are millions of different types available. There's something in the order of ten thousand different parts in a modern automobile. In a jet plane the number may be in the hundred thousands.

Even with modern computers, the only way to track all those parts and make sure they will be made in the exact number needed is something only a distributed control system, a.k.a. a free market, is capable of.

Re:Cue whiny fighting... (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 2 years ago | (#38495628)

Actually, an answer to that would be, tack on a domestic recycling surcharge to the price - basically, pay for the wages of the domestic recycling workers when you buy the lights.

What that would do is nearly guarantee that the lights are recycled properly and domestically, while also reducing unnecessary purchase of lights.

You failK 1t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492760)

having los7 93% [goat.cx]

USA'sians (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38492780)

American consumers who start it by buying tens of millions of pounds of Christmas tree lights every year, only to throw them into the recycle bin, guilt free, when a bulb breaks.

And that is why the rest of the world hates you or thinks that you are fucking nuts.

Re:USA'sians (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493272)

Really? I thought the reason we are hated is the country has been taken over with war mongers and profiteers that will milk a false flag for everything its worth like how we are now saying Iran did 9/11 [bloomberg.com] which I have to give them credit, first bin Laden, then Iraq and now Iran, they are milking the living hell out of that single "terrorist attack" to enact the neo-con design Wolfowitz came up with back in the 90s.

Of the countries he listed for conquest all that is left is Iran and Syria and it looks like the CIA will astroturf Syria like they did Libya with the Qatar soldiers (oh and while Al Qaeda helped naturally) so you really have to give the US war machine credit, they recycle their bullshit!

Re:USA'sians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38493328)

Yeah, and you are recycling the same weak bullshit concerning how evil the victim is.

nice piece of ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38493158)

CHICOM propaganda ... unfortunately, the CHICOMs still use a single 9mm in the back of the head for dissidents

Re:nice piece of ... (3, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493276)

"CHICOM propaganda ... unfortunately, the CHICOMs still use a single 9mm in the back of the head for dissidents"

Too bad we don't do that for financial crimes. Ever see pics of Chinese executions?

Our smug Wall Streeters who just blew up our economy would look less smug facing shame and shooting. THAT would be an edifying spectacle.

What I didn't see (2)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38493584)

I didn't see any masks on the workers.

It is hard to believe that process didn't produce any airborne toxins.

It is also hard to believe that the water added to the crushed lights to make a sludge for processing isn't polluting something somewhere.

Re:What I didn't see (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38496048)

Read the TFA

The contaminated water, meanwhile, flows into a recovery system, where it's re-circulated, over and over, through the recycling system.

The masks? No mention. So I don't know why. But probably the process does not make too much dusk? Or maybe the workers just don't like to wear one. (I don't like to wear a mask for more than 10 minutes.) Masks are cheap in China and one can get reusable ones.

Re:What I didn't see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38496194)

Agreed.

Not to mention all that lead solder.

pocketbooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38493742)

hehehehhe pocketbooks! What a funny word!!

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