Posted by: Rowan | January 14, 2009

Temporary news

Red rag to a bull, this one. I like facts, I like honesty, and I like honesty about facts. This is why I’m no good at politics.

But back to the facts.

  1. A story appeared in the media (Dominion Post, for me) that a Harvard physicist claims that performing 2 Google searches consumes the same amount of energy as boiling a kettle of water, or thereabouts.
  2. Google responded, and cited figures for the amount of energy consumed by a Google search. If I believe them, and if I believe the specs on my own kettle, then boiling it is worth about 300 Google searches. Not 2. The plot thickens.
  3. This guy’s post to the Guardian’s blog makes a lot of sense. It raises the question of measuring the energy required for a Google search versus all the energy needed to run Google. Fair enough. Do I want to go there? No.
  4. The Harvard physicist that did the original research says “I didn’t say that“. Uh oh.

“Our work has nothing to do with Google. Our focus was exclusively on the Web overall, and we found that it takes on average about 20 milligrams of CO2 per second to visit a Web site.”

And the example involving tea kettles? “They did that. I have no idea where they got those statistics,” Wissner-Gross said.

:D I’m sorry, I can’t help it.

Here’s another perspective on it from CNET, titled “Scientist slams newspaper for Google CO2 report“. It discloses a bit about the scientist as well. But for me this bit still stands: “They did that. I have no idea where they got those statistics”.

If I remember right, this story appeared in page B2 of Monday’s (Jan 12) DomPost, though I can’t find a reference to it now on the DomPost site (and I’ve lost the paper). The BBC still carries the story, but with some balance. Odd, though, that I can’t find it on the DomPost site.

Maybe for the DomPost it only ever lived on paper. And only for a day.

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