Monthly Archives: March 2009

Tiers of Mediums

I was listening to BEP when I was reminded of some of their videos, which led to the following thought process:

All media should be at the maximum density and information content. If I want to just listen to the music, I should be able to turn off the video, and so on. The point being that if I want, I can get maximum immersion experience for everything.

Sure, it’s expensive to create content this way and all that. But it would be fun. Like the real world, it would all be there, and we’d be left to our avenues to decide what to take in and interpret.

But, I also like books, only for the reason that I can imagine the live picture in my head. And there are ample songs that I’ve heard and loved, which I’m sure I’d not have liked as much, had I seen their videos first.

Then again, I can also choose to ignore the media in its most dense form, and prefer to use a simpler and less information content version. But will I do that?

In other words, if given a choice of a detailed report and an executive summary, we’d probably choose the summary, because of the information overload. But what about entertainment? High-definition content at 1040p is all the rage! And what if we overlook something subtle that is only contained in the detailed higher tiered medium? I don’t think I’d want to miss that.

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Being overwhelmed by Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, FriendFeed, IIMC Extranet, Google Reader, email and of course, the physical interactions.

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Earth Hour

The recent fad (or not so recent, considering it has been going around for some years now, in different forms) of shutting down non-essential lighting and electrical appliances in what is called the Earth Hour, seems a farce to me.

The WWF says that the entire event is merely symbolic and has no real intention of reducing power consumption or helping the environment; it is merely to raise awareness. I doubt how much of that is really happening.

Anyway, my point is, turning off power and reducing demand suddenly for only an hour and then bringing it back up to the original values is not an excellent idea. In fact, the utility companies are going to have a headache. Here’s why:

Power, i.e. electricity, is generated in power plants. Large power plans, the likes of which supply our most contemporary cities are fired by coal. And coal plants (or for that matter most others) cannot be taken offline and brought online in a matter of hours; the process is rather elaborate and sometimes takes a day or two, and is very different from simply flipping a switch.

This means that your reduction of demand is not going to help. In fact, the utility companies will now have to decide what to do with all that surplus electricity. It cannot be effectively stored. And they cannot stop generating it, since soon the world will once again demand it. They will in all likelihood waste it in resistor-banks immersed in huge water tanks in order to smooth the sudden fall in demand.

Think about it. Is your symbolism really helping anybody?

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The above are my first thoughts on this matter. I did some more research, and found out that a Australian power company measured the reduction in demand, and found it to be only 2%. Now this is hardly any reduction at all. All power grids are capable of handling fluctuations of this order, so my original hypothesis stands nullified.

That is to clarify: Earth Hour will reduce demand for power by 2%, which the power plants can successfully follow by reducing the electricity production and there are generally no ill-effects of the same.

However, the true Earth Hour will be when everyone brings in more permanency to the reduction in electricity consumption.