Sorry, Mr. Edison. Those incandescent bulbs you designed had a good run, but after almost 140 years they're on their way out the door.
Traditional 40- and 60-watt bulbs are being phased out of the market because they don't meet the efficiency regulations of a federal law passed in 2007. Those bulbs will no longer be legally manufactured or imported after the law goes into effect. (Via Discovery, KCOY)
When the consequences of the 2007 law came to light in 2011, conservative lawmakers and pundits fought for the incandescent bulb's survival, blasting the government for overregulation. Some took the campaign more seriously than others. (Via CNN)
COLBERT: "Have they even considered what that will do to the American joke-telling industry? 'How many blondes does it take to screw in a lightbulb?' 'I don't know. It's only been seven years; we don't have to change it yet.'" (Via Comedy Central / "The Colbert Report")
But two years later, it looks like the old bulbs have gone out for good. So what are your remaining options to keep your home well-lit?
The most widely recognized alternative to the old incandescents are the compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs. They've gotten a lot of praise for their long life and high efficiency ratings, but aesthetic and health concerns have scared some consumers off. (Via National Geographic, WBBM)
Another option getting a lot of buzz is the LED bulb. LEDs are generally more efficient and longer-lasting than the CFL, with none of the drawbacks. The catch is the price tag — even the cheapest LED bulbs cost $12 each. (Via The New York Times, YouTube / oisiaa)
And if you're not ready to abandon incandescent bulbs just yet, there are a few high-efficiency and halogen incandescent bulbs still on the market. Besides a slight price hike, you'll barely notice the difference. (Via CNET)
The government's light bulb regulations go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.