Power, Pollution and the Internet

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by Osaban, Sep 23, 2012.

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  1. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    If you thought that using your computer you were merely consuming the amount of power of an average light bulb, you'd better think again...
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/t...ying-industry-image.html?_r=1&ref=global-home
     
  2. PJC

    PJC Very Frequent Poster

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    Thanks for the interesting article! :thumb:
     
  3. Pinga

    Pinga Registered Member

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  4. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    So that's the "wave of the future"? Storing your data in a cloud of diesel smog?
     
  5. Pinga

    Pinga Registered Member

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  6. Mman79

    Mman79 Registered Member

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    The ugly truth is, "going green" does very little. We most certainly can move away from coal-fired, which would help some. But if we're still tossing millions of trash bags in world-wide dumps, using more vehicles than we need and more often than we need, and tossing our junk in rivers, lakes and oceans...well, those solar panels at home aren't doing a lot are they?

    Waste and lack of participation in recycling does just as much damage if not more than coal use. The other problem is bottom lines, and the unwillingness to mess with them. If large plants don't want to spend the money on efficiency (good efficiency) and environmental damage control, and governments don't force the issue at all or keep making "exemptions", then it's mostly all for naught. Last but not least, you can't force the rest of the world to play along, and pollution travels. All clean in the U.S? Great! Now here comes all the chemicals and other waste in the water and air from the rest of the world. You're not going to be able to stop damage to the environment, that would require humans to be gone. You can however control it, if you're willing.
     
  7. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    In one respect that's true. In another, it all matters. Arguments like the "why should we if China won't" which was used by some in our government are IMO, childish at best. I expect to hear "But he's doing it too" from school children, not from those that run this world. Energy use, pollutants, etc are additive. If one pollutes and the other doesn't, there's still less than if both continue to pollute. As for the US being clean or "green", are we including CO² in that equation? What is "green" about consuming more per person than anyone else in the world? We exported these democratic, self indulging, standard of living ideals, and now we're complaining because others are adopting them? What's wrong with this picture?

    Individually, what each of us does has very little effect on a global scale. It's effect on a personal or local level can be quite large. On a global scale, my little solar greenhouse doesn't make a measurable contribution, but on a household level, it's saved me about $10,000 in heating costs since I built it. This is in one of the worst areas for solar power in the country. There's also the food value of the thousands of plants that were started in it over the years. How does one determine the value of the CO² they've absorbed or of the oxygen they released? Everything we do makes a difference. Its value depends on the scale you're using to judge it. We could blow this planet into marble sized pieces and it would make almost no difference on a galactic scale. Individually, none of us can save the planet any more than we can destroy it, but we can make a positive difference in our own lives and those around us. I can't save the whales but I can save an endangered plant that grows here from extinction.

    IMO, using the term "green" in connection with computing is the height of hypocrisy. Sustainable and planned obsolescence are incompatible by design. There's nothing green about making PCs full of plastic, lead, and toxic materials disposable by design in artificially shortened time periods, all for the sake of profit and industry control.
     
  8. Mman79

    Mman79 Registered Member

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    Of course, it all does matter. And you're right, as far as consumption, we're bound to be tops in the U.S. Maybe one person won't make a difference, but if every person waits until the other person starts, then it'll go nowhere. If we used the "Why should we if they don't?" argument for many other things, this world would be in a lot of trouble. However, the biggest factor as far as government is concerned, is that the government is ran by businessmen/women. For the most part, if it doesn't put money in their pockets, or takes it out, they want no part of it. That is making our EPA to be more and more of a sham.
     
  9. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    Quite true. For myself, I'm not waiting for someone else to start. I've been partially solar powered for about 25 years and have been doing conventional recycling (recycling centers) for the last 10 years. It takes us almost 3 weeks to produce a bag of trash. I couldn't begin to estimate what 30 years of composting has been worth when you count the returns in food, landfill space saved, carbon returned to the soil, etc. Those data centers should be paying me for recycling part of their carbon emissions.

    Regarding the cloud and using it for data storage and running applications, there's a difference between what's possible, practical, and desirable. IMO, much of cloud computing crosses that line. The storage capabilities of modern PCs is almost unlimited. They're running hard drives anyway just for the OS. A PC can just as easily be a personal server. Why outsource what our own equipment is already capable of doing? Some will call this paranoia or tin hat material, but the only reason I see for this push to "the cloud" is to gain access to and take away control over our data. There's probably no way to determine it with a degree of accuracy, but I wonder what percentage of that stored data is trivial, like games, silly videos, e-mailed jokes, spam, etc, things of no real worth. I'd bet it's at least half.
     
  10. Mman79

    Mman79 Registered Member

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    I have no real way to prove it either, but I would not at all feel foolish in stating that the cloud consists of trendy data that most will forget they even stored in a few weeks time. The cloud was supposed to be a way for data to be more secure from disasters/hacking. The problem with that is that the buildings that store these clouds are still prone to both.

    In my own opinion, though corporate entities do have at least more of a reason to use it, the cloud is more of a solution without a problem. I don't think it's tinfoil hat wearing to suggest that it's yet another way to control data, in fact I believe it to be true. Of course that's a different discussion altogether.
     
  11. chronomatic

    chronomatic Registered Member

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    Sorry but recycling is a scam. It takes more energy to recycle a plastic bottle than it does to create a new one. This means we produce more CO2 to recycle plastic than to merely create it anew. Moreover, recycling trucks burn gas and emit CO2.

    One thing people don't seem to get is that nothing is free. It's the laws of thermodynamics (and the law of conservation of mass and energy). It takes energy to do work, and recycling takes energy just as much as anything else. And "work" always emits something. There is no way to do anything for free (either economically or without emissions or waste). Recycling sounds good on paper until you understand the basic laws of physics. You have to create recycling plants, which emit CO2. You have to hire people to work there (they emit CO2 driving to work). The whole thing is a scam.

    The only common item where it is actually beneficial to recycle is aluminum. It is cheaper to recycle aluminum than it is to mine for more. This is why you can collect cans and get paid for it. It's also why no one will pay you for old plastic. It is far cheaper and more energy efficient to just chunk old plastic and start over.
     
  12. Mman79

    Mman79 Registered Member

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    However, you're missing an important point. Energy consumption is far from the only issue if we want to discuss the environment. Perhaps it is more energy efficient to create anew instead of recycle. However, by recycling bottles it means less bottles just sitting in a dump decaying and being absorbed into the ground. No one ever said you could do things energy free or that there still wouldn't be some pollution (if you'll recall, I said in a previous post it was impossible unless humans were out of the picture.) Perpetual motion won't work either while we're talking energy.

    As I said, waste is far more of a problem than energy consumption, and that waste includes our habit of changing electronics every few months/per year. Look at silver, there is a shortage. Why? Because of our consumption of electronic devices. Is the solution to stop using them? Of course not. But do we need to act like a parasite and eat up the iPhone 5 when the iPhone 4 still does exactly what we bought it to do? Also, going back to the "cloud", we use it to do what we already can do. The cloud is simply cheaper (for businesses), it's a money issue just like "going green" really is and why going green is all but ignored.

    I don't mean to change subjects, but that's an example of our waste. Humans are basically parasites in behavior, we just are. Unlike other parasites though, we can change our behavior.
     
  13. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    IMO, the energy component of recycling is misrepresented here. Of course recycling trucks emit CO². So do the garbage trucks that haul the trash to the landfill. Creating recycling plants takes energy, as does any manufacturing facility. Hiring people to work at the plants. Jobs we badly need. CO² from driving to that job? That would apply to any job.

    In all fairness, recycling plastic isn't the answer to that problem. The oil reserves the plastic is made from is diminishing. Producing disposable plastic with that oil is the worst kind of waste. Plastic should be used only in durable goods, not milk jugs or individually wrapped cheese slices. We have all kinds of recyclable and biodegradable options to put food in, options that would be less damaging to our heath than wrapping our food with petroleum products.

    It is disgusting how the term "green" is being misused. A company portrays itself as green for putting solar panels on its building, even though its business plan creates untold tons of toxic waste. Cloud computing (actually the entire computing industry) needs to be looked at hard from a cost/benefit position, with all of the real costs (like those described in the articles linked earlier) factored in. Then we need to look at ourselves and our standard of living and ask:
    Do we need this?
    Is it worth what it really costs?

    Always having the "latest and greatest" costs more than the number on the price tags, as does being able to retrieve at a moments notice from anywhere, every video or bad joke you've been sent. AFAIC, computers and the internet are both very worthwhile. Replacing hardware, software, operating systems, etc just to pad a corporations bottom line is not. A disposable world is not sustainable.
     
  14. Pinga

    Pinga Registered Member

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/t...s-in-rural-washington-state-gobble-power.html
     
  15. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    That is sickening. This should put an end to any illusion of Microsoft being "green" in any way. Sadly we have no laws that address this type of criminal coercion.
     
  16. Mman79

    Mman79 Registered Member

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    And we won't have laws for it unless we fight tooth and nail, simply because these same businesses are basically running the country. I know politics aren't allowed here, but some things just have to be realized and spoke of.
     
  17. Pinga

    Pinga Registered Member

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    How right you were!
    http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/81464
     
  18. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    Quite a few data centers like Google's and Facebook's make serious efforts to use as little energy as possible. I think both of those companies rely primarily on wind power.

    It's not all so terrible out there.
     
  19. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Highly improbable.
     
  20. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    The amount of power data centers use would require a very large wind farm and a very large energy storage.
    From the article:
    AFAIC, making oneself dependent on "the cloud" only makes the problem worse. IMO, wherever one finds comments about MS or cloud computing being green, they should post links to that article and let people see the dirty truth about this "wave of the future", since we will end up having to breathe it.
     
  21. Dark Shadow

    Dark Shadow Registered Member

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    Where killing each other with technology and being in large cities even worse.The day will probably come when we will look out are windows to see smog,Go green yea sure.
     
  22. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    The concept of "green" or being environmentally compatible and sustainable is good. The problem begins when big money gets hold of the term and twists its meaning until it's little more than an advertizing slogan. Companies do what amounts to little more than a symbolic gesture, then use it to show that they "care". The term "organic" has taken a very similar beating. These companies and corporations need to be publicly called out when they misuse terms in that manner. I for one am getting quite fed up with big money perverting everything of value in this world for the sake of their bottom lines. Microsoft, you want to claim to be green? Then change your policies so that hardware isn't automatically obsolete in a few years. Better yet, pay the costs for properly recycling all the electronic waste your policies already created.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  23. Dark Shadow

    Dark Shadow Registered Member

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    :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
     
  24. ronjor

    ronjor Global Moderator

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  25. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    Isn't a paradox?
    This is typical arrogance of large corporations which in many situations control the legal system by force using real armies of security and corporate lawyers.
    We all know how slow is new legislation (inevitable) after all the Internet is still a very young development, but government intervention and a sustainable solution are absolutely necessary.
     
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