Michael Shermer, the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and the Executive Director of the Skeptics Society, gave a talk at TED about self-deception — how our mind (sometimes) plays tricks on us. A couple of interesting tidbits:
- Dopamine antagonists decrease the patterns we see
- Dopamine agonists increase the patterns we see
The following infographic presents some interesting facts about big tobacco:
- The largest US tobacco company, Philip Morris International, is the 94th most profitable company in the country.
- The top three US tobacco companies made over $50 billion in revenues in 2009.
- China is the largest cigarette producing country in the world. Tobacco companies from that country made over $443 billion dollars last year.
- Federal tax on a cigarette pack has gone up from 5 cents in 2002 to $1.01 in 2009.
- Many life insurance companies in America are major stakeholders in tobacco companies.
Have a look at the infographic below for some sobering facts about pharmaceutical companies in the US. Here are a few snippets:
- The cost of prescription drugs rises 12% every year; they now cost 3x more than 30 years ago.
- The markup on prescription drugs varies from 5,000% to 225,000%! That’s pure profit these companies make on every pill they sell.
- Big Pharma spends over $20 billion per year on advertising for their drugs.
A neat infographic that details how identity theft occurs and why password security fails when passwords aren’t secure enough. If you’ve ever wondered why you’re asked to choose both lowercase and uppercase letters in your password, know this: an eight-character lowercase password can be cracked in just two hours, but if you add just one uppercase character, it can take up to 200 years.
ComputersOFF.org is hosting a virtual Green IT Week from June 1-7. This is an issue that’s of particular importance to me. Having been an IT director, I know how much power the combined laptops, desktops and servers of an organization can consume, and how much pollution is generated by the disposal of computer hardware (see this post, and this one as well).
I’ve written about this topic since 2004. Here are three of my articles that deal with saving energy in IT:
Green IT deals with two things:
- Electronic Waste: Minimizing the negative impact of information technology use on the environment, and
- Energy Efficiency: Using information technology to help solve environmental issues
They’ve put together a few facts that help to drive home their message, so I’m going to quote them below.
By turning off your computer each night or when not in use (i.e. lunch times, weekends, when in meetings at night) for a year you save as much energy as it takes:
- to run a clock radio for 1,392 weeks
- to make 9,280 bags of microwave popcorn
- to wash 464 loads of washing
- to use your blow dryer for 5,568 hours
- to vacuum for 464 hours
- to produce 3,480 plastic bags
- to run your microwave 24 hours a day for a week
- to boil your kettle for 24 hours a day for 268 days
By turning off your computer tonight when you leave work you will save as much energy as it takes:
- to run a clock radio for over 3 weeks
- to make over 20 bags of microwave popcorn
- to wash over 1 load of washing
- to blow dry your hair over 12 times
- to vacuum for over 1 hour
- to light a 100 watt light bulb for over 10 hours
For both companies and individuals, there are some really easy actions they can take to reduce their energy use, including:
- Turning off computers, games consoles and TVs when they are not in use
- Setting your computer to “sleep” after 15 minutes of inactivity (this reduces the power it uses because “sleep” mode is a lower-energy use mode for the computer to operate in)
- Turning devices off at the power point (because even in standby mode your appliances are using electricity)
- Buy green energy (to help push electricity suppliers to convert from coal based production – which creates greenhouse gases and requires mining – to sustainable technologies like wind power)
- Buy and use a laptop instead of a desktop computer. Laptops only use 190kW (average) of electricity per year.
Want more of these neat factlets? They also have 100 Green IT Tips. They’ve put together a video as well, where various celebrities endorse the cause.
Make sure to check their website from June 1 to June 7 for more good info about Green IT.