Just what every European household needs: heat balls. A German businessman has decided to start marketing the items as 'small heating devices' for households requiring additional warmth.  Apparently, there's a perceived need for that in Europe.

Anyway... very ingenious things, heat balls: they work by converting electricity into heat energy, with an impressive 95% efficiency, which makes them perfect for warming specific spots in the house.  They're also absurdly simple to make: glass, tungsten, some argon to keep the device stable - it's all very cheap to make, particularly since it's all off-the-shelf technology.  Best of all: heat balls fit in a standard lamp socket, which means that you won't need any kind of special equipment to use them!  They're not perfect, though: the extremely small amount of energy wasted by a heat ball ends up generating photons, which means that you don't want to look at a heat ball directly.  But even that can be mitigated by using exterior shades.  Really, on balance it's a great little device: as Instapundit (H/T) notes, very green.

What's that?  I've just described the incandescent light bulb?

Don't be absurd: the European Union banned those, remember?  This is just a heat generator; that's how it's marketed, and that's how it's being sold.  If somebody plugs one in just to generate light, well, that's hardly the seller's fault, is it?

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Californians, take note.  Heck, Americans in general after 2012.

PPS: Here's the English-language site.  Note that the EU is being called out for its anti-environmental stance on the Heat Ball, by the way.