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Google Earth Hour: Screen Goes Black!

     
12:55 am on Mar 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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My screen goes black, literally!

Google users in the United Kingdom will notice today that we "turned the lights out" on the Google.co.uk homepage as a gesture to raise awareness of a worldwide energy conservation effort called Earth Hour. As to why we don't do this permanently - it saves no energy; modern displays use the same amount of power regardless of what they display. However, you can do something to reduce the energy consumption of your home PC by joining the Climate Savers Computing Initiative.

On Saturday, March 29, 2008, Earth Hour invites people around the world to turn off their lights for one hour from 8:00pm to 9:00pm in their local time zone. On this day, cities around the world, including Copenhagen, Chicago, Melbourne, Dubai, and Tel Aviv, will hold events to acknowledge their commitment to energy conservation.

[google.co.uk...]

4:30 am on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Well the regular white-bread-google-screen came back before this "Earth Day" lights out PR stunt was over...

For the record, it's still black for me and it's 9:30pm in my time zone.
9:14 am on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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what am I supposed to do between 8 and 9 this evening?

Sorry to come out with such an old cliche but... get a life.

9:14 am on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This gave the wife the idea to light some smelly candles. They stayed on and the lighting remained off for the rest of the evening.

It was an interesting experiment.

Thanks to Google for bringing it to my attention.

9:30 am on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I think it was more about having a show of solidarity than producing a practical result.

As someone correctly pointed out, turning off lights and electrical applications for one hour (I didn't turn off my fridge freezer but everything else in my flat was off) is "low hanging fruit" which, is relatively easy to commit to and won't have much impact. (That said, I'm really keen to read the stats when they are published).

But what yesterday's event did do, indisputably, is show how many people around the world are thinking about non-renewable energy enough to commit to some relatively small decrease in their annual consumption*.

Of course the question is whether the project only yields results because the challenge is unambitious.

Maybe we should do something with more impact, like raise electric rates by 1,000% for one day and donate the proceeds to renewable energy research ;)

Hmm. You're joking, but I think this is a good idea.

* As I read ever more about climate change, I'm less certain than I ever was that man-made CO2 is actually responsible for heating up the planet. However, I am certain that prioritising development of sustainable, renewable energy sources can only be a good thing, regardless of the impact of burning fossil fuels.

what am I supposed to do between 8 and 9 this evening?

Sorry to come out with such an old cliche but... get a life.

Unless I misunderstood something, you can't have much of a life during Earth Hour. For instance, you definitely can't leave your house - if you do then the lights would have been off anyway and you've effectively not participated. What I really should have had was a couple of candles so I could have read a book. Anyway I survived by looking out the window (almost no lights went off), text-messaging a few friends, brainstorming some slogans for a new campaign and doing some physical exercises.

How did everyone else survive?

9:56 am on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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turning off lights and electrical applications

Turning off electrical apps, and then turning them on, causes more stress on them than leaving them turned on. Many will break down as a result and after years of faithfull service will end up cluttering the countryside or in landfills.
Who are the stupid people who thought up this stupid idea? Usually they're tax-payer funded. And why did Google give in so easily - they will never be able to stand up againt the Chinese gov if they surrender so quickly to the eco-fascists.
10:50 am on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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At this late hour, with the day & night of this event finished, I have to say that if I had not visited Google last night I never would have heard about it. Ho Hum. Yawn.
11:00 am on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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But Google sucks in massive amounts of power to run all those web servers - it is a HUGE power hog, and their best idea is to turn a screen black - stupid.
1:51 pm on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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candles

Burning hydrocarbons is a strange way of showing support for a campaign to burn less hydrocarbons(!)

modern displays use the same amount of power regardless of what they display

Google's black design actually uses (marginally) more power on LCD screens up to 22" in size, but uses significantly less power on CRTs (source [techlogg.com]). YWMV...

2:59 pm on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I believe this is big mistake on Google's part.

Google getting further politically active alienates people. Google should be neutral as most large corporations typically are.

But, based on Google employees public political positions, campaign contributions, keeping hate sites on Google News, aiding Communist censorship policies in China; it seems that the die is cast.

3:03 pm on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)



they're trying to be "hip" and all. But when their founders buy a plane that sits a gazillion people then they're open to all claims of hypocrisy. I am torn on whether corps should be politically active or not, especially the public ones.
3:24 pm on Mar 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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My family participated last night and we spent the hour sitting on the floor talking ... it was actually a great experience. At the beginning, my oldest daughter (11) said it best: "You mean we have to talk to each other - for a whole hour?!?!"

She survived as did the rest of us. I didn't look at this as a way to "save energy" but more of a way remind us that we don't need technology to have a good evening. It is what you make of it.

1:21 am on Mar 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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My family participated too, we sat in the dark for one hour with our candles lit. Cool experience and my 17 year old said, "We should do that again sometime"....go figure!
3:37 am on Mar 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I believe this is big mistake on Google's part. Google getting further politically active alienates people.

Why yes, expressing their concern for the environment is such a HUGE mistake and will alienate their important user base of drooling red necks.

Google isn't Fox news. They actually embrace the 21st century.

12:27 pm on Mar 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Why yes, expressing their concern for the environment is such a HUGE mistake and will alienate their important user base of drooling red necks.

Why use personal attacks on those you don't agree with?

Surely, you will agree that the concept of human-caused 'global warming' is a highly debatable and scientifically unsettled issue? Ask the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, etc which just set the record for most snow fall in recorded history.

Perhaps, they did not get the memo that global warming is real.

12:59 pm on Mar 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This idea does nothing productive other than give the talking heads on TV something to fill the 6:00 hour. In protest, I let my car idle for the hour.
3:41 pm on Mar 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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major North American extinction event

That will actually be a world extinction event - due to volcanic dust blocking out the sun.

But at least England won't explode, we can look forward to dying slowly by torchlight.

Google's black design actually uses (marginally) more power on LCD screens up to 22" in size, but uses significantly less power on CRTs

Well duhh. LCD's are white by default, I imagine turning the entire screen black registers a few milliamps or so. Whereas CRT's are black by default.

5:23 pm on Mar 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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FWIW, in California we participate in the annual mandatory rotating grid power outages during the peak summer usage so I saw no need to do it willingly.
6:22 pm on Mar 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Surely, you will agree that the concept of human-caused 'global warming' is a highly debatable and scientifically unsettled issue? Ask the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, etc which just set the record for most snow fall in recorded history.

wild swings in weather is part of the climate change model

not that i want to have a political debate because it is against the rules

8:01 pm on Mar 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Rugles. We're not here to discuss climate change - that is way off topic and also quite political.

Yes, Google decided to make a political statement with their black screens, and they certainly did get people talking about the topic. I suppose raising awareness was the whole point. But there are other forums on the web for digging into the issues about climate change, whereas we're here to discusss Google itself.

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