Voltaire Spins at 7200 rpm

Last week, my friend Luboš Motl was first to draw my attention to the newest French insanity of banning the use of lights at night in Paris.

Marketed as reducing light pollution; it turns out that it does no such thing at all. For everybody else except the law’s proponents, light pollution is uncontrolled uplight that illuminates the sky, making the stars in the night sky less visible.

It’s clear from the link to the Grauniad that the laws apply predominately to lights inside business premises; offices and shops.

The “pollution” that the law actually targets is that of notional CO2 emissions from the production of a small amount of electricity. Electricity which, in France at off-peak times, probably comes almost entirely from nuclear power stations.

  • It’s not the light from the street lights.
  • It’s not the light from the public places.
  • It’s not the light from the palaces.
  • It’s not the light from the millions of motor vehicles.
  • It’s not the light from anywhere.

It’s the “CO2 pollution”. That mythical construct that defines the emission of a useful, non-toxic, invisible gas as “pollution”.

Activists and politicians with no respect for language or the intelligence of others have decided to hijack yet another term that has a useful meaning and pervert it to their own interpretation. To them, it means whatever they want it to mean; regardless of how others have previously understood and applied the terminology. (see also: “pollution”)

It is part of “capturing the language”. Where “capturing” apparently includes the full Abu Ghraib treatment.

Sadly; some of those who want to enjoy the brilliance of a clear night sky will not recognize that “light pollution” means something else to those who wish to be their masters; and happily join to push the band-wagon.

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