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Posts from — March 2010

Earth Hour

A few years ago, a movement called “Earth Hour” started to bring attention to the environmental cost of electricity, and encouraged people across the world to turn off their lights for an hour.  It may be symbolic, but it’s nothing more.  When large businesses and landmarks shut off or dim their lights, it will be noticeable, but when you do it, it’s not even going to be a drop in the bucket.  You are not going to make a significant dent in electric usage by turning off your lights for an hour.  Here’s why: What do you do when the lights are out for an hour?  Turn on your 50 inch plasma TV to watch a movie with your big surround sound system, while your computer hums away in another room completely unused.  If you’re the kind of person who’s given to take part in something like Earth Hour, you’ve already switched to CFLs and maybe even LEDs.  In my apartment, I have one primary CFL light that covers the living room and computer area.  It’s usually on from when I get home to when I go to bed.  In that hour when it’s off, I would save 23W.  23W of hydroelectric power, most likely.  My TV uses something like 110 W and my cable box uses 30W  (Even when it’s off!).  My computer is probably 200 W total.  Using any of those will use far more electricity than turning off my light will save.  The worst offender of all is my microwave.  In the 3:30 that it took to nuke my macaroni and cheese dinner tonight, it used almost THREE AND A HALF TIMES the amount of electricity that my trusty light uses in an entire hour.

So, if you’re going to participate in Earth Hour this weekend, turn off the TV, turn off the computer, leave the light on and have a bowl of cereal for dinner.

March 25, 2010   No Comments

Temporal Mechanics: Changing the Speed of Time, Part II