Just google the words "carbon footprint" and you've added seven grams of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, say Harvard researchers. Google disputes this number, but there's little doubt the IT industry is becoming one of the biggest contributors to global warming. The industry now accounts for 2 percent of worldwide emissions—comparable to the annual total for airplanes.That percentage is set to grow quickly as more digital information comes to reside in "the cloud," meaning on a network instead of your PC. To house it all, Google and other firms are building data centers: vast warehouses of energy-hungry computers that manage massive volumes of data and produce tremendous amounts of heat, requiring even more energy to cool them. In the U.S., data centers now account for 1.5 percent of total electricity use, and that's expected to double by 2011. New legislation in the U.S. and Europe is prioritizing reducing that carbon footprint. And a handful of cold northern nations are now...
To the credit of opponents of health-care reform, the lies and exaggerations they're spreading are not made up out of whole cloth—which makes the misinformation that much more credible. Instead, because opponents demand that everyone within earshot (or e-mail range) look, say, "at page 425 of the House bill!," the lies take on a patina of credibility. Take the claim in one chain e-mail that the government will have electronic access to everyone's bank account, implying that the Feds will rob you blind. The 1,017-page bill passed by the House Ways and Means Committee does call for electronic fund transfers—but from insurers to doctors and other providers. There is zero provision to include patients in any such system. Five other myths that won't die:
From the Techtonic Shifts inbox, a classic ludicrous press release:
The boating industry has known for years that the intimidation of driving and docking a boat, especially a yacht, keeps many people who enjoy boating from owning one themselves. Now, new technology in the form of joystick steering control has come to boating, promising to change the industry forever by making it easy for most anyone to drive. It's now so simple that even a six-year-old can dock a 40' powerboat.
Like playing a video game, you just point the joystick and computerized control of specialized "pod" engines below provides the right thrust in the right direction, taking into account wind and current. The boat can slide sideways through the water, all with a tap at the joystick. Twist the joystick and the boat rotates in place.
Yes, it's the difficulty of that has kept so many people from yachting lately. And not, say, the %&#$@ recession?
It wasn't so long ago that the idea of a college romance playing out online—for better or for worse—would have been deemed weird, nerdy, or just plain pathetic. How the digital world is changing the rules of modern courtship.