i hate people who randomly pull figures out of their ass, usually with little or no logical explanation. my name for it is "sphincter extraction" - and looking at how often i come across these smelly numbers, it seems like people seem to love doing it as much as i hate hearing about it, if not more.
for example, today, i read/dugg an article on yahoo news that claims that accidental use of "reply all" cost the us economy USD 650 billion (that's almost 5% of its GDP, btw).
some time ago i read that changing the background of google's home page to black would save the world thousands of kilowatt-hours worth of electricity in a year.
in either case, the numbers are entirely meaningless because nothing is concretely defined.
what is the definition of "accidental" use of reply all? how do you define cost of receiving such a mail? don't we have to also factor in the potential loss of productivity caused by not getting an important message because you weren't included in the conversation?
for the black google thing, it's even stranger when you consider that an lcd screen actually uses *MORE* electricity to display black than to display white, while a crt one uses less. if lcds outnumber crts (which i'm jolly well sure they do), black google would actually use *MORE* electricity. and even if they did save a million lightbulbs worth of electricity, it would be less than what my block uses in a year. wonder where they got their "377,753.418 watt hours saved" line from.
maybe i should calculate how much money was lost due to sphincter-extraction-based reports. now that would be a nice number to pull out of my ass.
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