Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Black Web; a Model for Climate Change

Of course, I have been following the black Google thing religiously the last few days. Some think it's great. Some still think it doesn't save any energy, even testing their monitor and proving the theory with an n of 1. And there are some pushbackers, as if mandating the viewing of black web pages is akin to sawing off their left arm. Good thing I didn't propose that China or Brazil, both countries with a lot of CRT monitors, mandate that all web traffic be black... oops!

A bright light is this post from Rory Spangler which confirmed my own thoughts - Blackle and its ilk are the Prius of search. Basically, it's great but it's just not cool. And there's no legroom. It reminded me of something Richard Stallman said about free software when I interviewed him; I quote:
Rms: So this shows how people take flimsy invalid excuses and stretch them to excuse doing what they want to be doing (because it's the usual way or whatever). It's a common practice when using non-free software, and that's our biggest obstacle: social inertia.

So how do we overcome social inertia?

Well the first step is to recognize it, and to show how is not valid. People want to give into social inertia because it's easy. But they don't want to say, "I want to do the wrong thing because it’s easier for me to do the wrong thing." So they exaggerate - they say doing the right thing is simply impossible. Impossible they say. Intolerable. It's always a matter of exaggeration, often several steps of exaggeration in series. So whenever I hear that, I start pointing out why it’s fallacious.

I'm not bashing Rory (or anyone else) here, I think what he said is spot. But it seems to be that solving the Internet energy problem by implementing the black web is very similar to trying to solve the bad gas, climate change problem; everyone knows what to do, they just don't want to do it. Solve the web energy problem, and we will be well on our way to solving the climate change problem.


Anonymous said...

A personal obstacle that I have to light on dark web page is that of persistence of vision.

I find it hard on the eyes after just a couple of minutes when scrolling through bright text on dark background due to the residual 'halo' of the text still showing as the page moves.

As such, I have steered away from such pages as they are too difficult to read for any length of time.

Others, of course, may not have the same problem.

Elias Kamaratos said...

If one has no problem reading white on black background (personally I seem to prefer it) then why not try it. It's a bit like believing in God and eternal life... It doesn't hurt anyone. So even if the saving is not as much as calculated, using it can't hurt the environment anyway.