Tuesday, December 4

Blackle and My Inspirational Sandcastle Adventure!

Blackle = Energy Saving Search!

Blackle was created by Heap Media (Founded in Sydney, Australia in 2005) to remind us all of the need to take small steps in our everyday lives to save energy. Blackle searches are powered by Google Custom Search.

Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. "Image displayed is primarily a function of the user's color settings and desktop graphics, as well as the color and size of open application windows; a given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen." Roberson et al, 2002 (PDF)

"There is a significant difference in energy consumption between black and white screens for CRT monitors. CCFL LCD monitors do not show as much difference, however, many of the coming monitor technologies are expected to show a significant difference. Technology is constantly changing but the need to take steps to save energy is constant (Source)."

In January 2007 a blog post titled Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year proposed the theory that a black version of the Google search engine would save a fair bit of energy due to the popularity of the search engine.

According to Blackle, 337,107.747 Watt hours have been saved until now (4th December!). Congratulations for making a difference!

Alright, I love the idea, and I suppose I should use less colors in my blog. So, I am feeling a bit guilty right now! Though, Blackle's black and white color combination might not suit all of us (Programming geeks would probably love it!), and perhaps there could be a compromise (with a bit of additional creativity) by enabling us to use less colors than normal, or shades of Watt saving colors. In other words, maybe Blackle could also be customizable enabling us to select our own favorite 'Watt Saving Colors'. Yes, then it could calculate the differences, so that we know what differences we are making, and feel good that we are at least making a small difference. I suppose 'Colorle' could be Blackle's little sister :)

In addition to using Blackle, why don't we stop buying our kids toys, too (Not sure if ToysRus would agree with that one!). In the olden days, kids used to make their own toys with whatever they had, or found around in the neighborhood (Some people still do!). Now, if kids don't have TV, Internet, or their game consoles, they are often lost for ideas on how to spend their free time (I suppose this also applies to some grown-ups, too!).

I just came home from a holiday yesterday (Pangkor Beach Resort!), and I got to admit that I had a ball creating my first big sandcastle there for a long time. While my kids were playing, and my wife probably wondering why I was so serious about building this sandcastle, I was rediscovering something that I had never really appreciated before. Me, myself with my hands, sand, plastic cup and my own imagination, built a sand castle that I am so proud of that I have even posted a couple of pictures of it here (from two different angles!). I suppose it won't win any sandcastle competition, but it did teach me a few valuable lessons.

First, forget Lego and all the other artificial creative building toys. If you can get your hands on a lot of sand, clay or snow, perhaps you should us them instead. By doing so, we can make a small difference on the environment, our fitness, and importantly our imagination. With Lego our imagination is kind of limited to the type and number of pieces we have. However, with moist sand (clay, or snow) we are basically limited only to our own imagination. Not only that, while lego is more of a mental game, building for example a sandcastle you also need to roll-up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Not only are we tickling our imagination, but we are also getting a small workout, perhaps some sun (Vitamin C), and fresh air (if possible!). Yes, it can also be therapeutically relaxing, too.

Hmm, okay it is a bit much not to buy our kids toys (and expect them to create their own!), but we should perhaps educate them to want toys that cause less global warming, pollution, health hazards, and importantly don't destroy their imagination. By doing so, Mattel (and the rest!), would get their acts together faster, and ToysRus will increasingly sell toys that are friendlier to the environment, our health, and our imagination. If we adults make a change first, our kids will slowly follow, and certainly the big players like Mattel will learn fast and adapt. Perhaps, the world needs a new innovative Toys creator called 'ToysGreen' to lead the way :)

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