Friday, November 13, 2009


This evening at dinner a cute girl was describing how she uses a search engine called 'Blackle' (that I refuse to link to lest we build their resolve). "Blackle" does a Google search for you and then displays the results on a black screen with gray text. Their claim is that displaying a black screen rather than a white screen "saves energy". This was definitely filed under "far too misguided to let slide" by the engineers in the room. After a short tutorial on how LCDs shutter a back light that is always on regardless of what the image on the screen, it was dismissed as a gimmick. (CRTs and OLED displays do use slightly less energy displaying black but if you're still using a CRT clearly you don't give a hoot about energy efficiency anyhow). This failure to provide savings stacked on top of their mere existence as a middle man server makes them huge losers. Anyway she's still talking to us so apparently we weren't too big of jerks about it.

I mentioned this nonsense to Andy, and he said "At some point I'm going to calculate how many hours of running 100W light bulb is equivalent to the energy consumed by stopping my car from 45mph" Turns out, at some point, was the following 5 minutes. The kinetic energy of Andy's 5400 lb Ford Expedition (the energy that is dissipated by slowing down from 45mph) is the same as burning 100W for about an hour and twenty minutes! This doesn't even account for the fact that your car was at best 20% efficient at getting you up to that speed in the first place! A fun fact to share if you're being chided about not using a compact florescent bulb in a room where the light is rarely on.

Oh it looks like Google covered this themselves 2 years ago.

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