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Internet's Energy Needs Growing Faster Than Efficiency Gains

timothy posted about a year ago | from the more-dilithium-obviously dept.

Earth 158

Electrons may not weigh anything, but it takes some heavy lifting, both literal and figurative, to point them in the right direction. Reader terrancem writes with this excerpt: "Energy efficiency gains are failing to keep pace with the Internet's rapid rate of expansion, says a new paper published in the journal Science. Noting that the world's data centers already consume 270 terawatt hours and Internet traffic volume is doubling every three years, Diego Reforgiato Recupero of the University of Catania argues for prioritizing energy efficiency in the design of devices, networks, data centers, and software development. Recupero highlights two approaches for improving efficiency: smart standby and dynamic frequency scaling or CPU throttling."

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What? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313327)

Electrons may not weigh anything

You lost me there.

Re:What? (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | about a year ago | (#43313341)

I knew those Higgs Boson experiments would lead to no good, but I didn't expect this!

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313591)

It's 9.10938188 × 10^-31 kilograms. I used Google.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313619)

the world's data centers already consume 270 terawatt hours

You lost me again there.

Re:What? (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#43313949)

You're not moving fast enough.

Re:What? (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43314075)

Also... seeing as the world population isn't going to double every three years, how is internet traffic?

Another junk article.

Go speculate on lemmings and leave technology to the people who can actually conceptualize it.

Re:What? (2)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year ago | (#43314197)

Because the general trend is the average person's usage has been going up over time. Netflix alone has substantially increased what the average person consumes.

Re:What? (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43314515)

It might go up a bit... but 4x over 6 years... even 2x over 3 years... complete BS. Most people who are going to be using netflix in 3 years are already using it.

I agree with TFA title btw, not the summary. Traffic is increasing, and there hasn't been a whole lot of new stuff in the way of reducing server power consumption or cooling. Though there was that one DC that used a nearby water source to cool itself... nobody's gonna pack up their DC's foundation and move to the ocean side.

In fact, I doubt this is anything anybody needs to worry about as the consumption increases very slowly and the current energy grid is equipped to provide.

Well Then ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313329)

Maybe we should be using this new fangled internet thing to figure out how to come up with more efficient power sources. Then we could expand the internet. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Is that per hour ? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313339)

270 terawatt hours! Is that per hour I wonder ?

Re:Is that per hour ? (3, Informative)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#43313389)

it's probably per year. don't you think? doubtful that they consume 270 TW of power.

Re:Is that per hour ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313849)

270 TWh of energy consumed per year yields about 30.8 GW of average connected load. I figure that's around 1 million averagely loaded (~30kW) 42-pole 120V 3-phase electrical panels worth.

Re:Is that per hour ? (2)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#43313901)

By my calculation, that is 223,000 bolts of lightning. Great scott!

Re:Is that per hour ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43314489)

270 terawatt hours! Is that per hour I wonder ?

That's over 9000!!! There's no way that can be right!!

Re: Electrons may not weigh anything (1, Informative)

paradigm82 (959074) | about a year ago | (#43313345)

Actually, the mass of an electron is: 9.10938291(40)×1031 kg :-)

Re: Electrons may not weigh anything (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43313549)

Actually, the mass of an electron is: 9.10938291(40)×10^31 kg :-)

I think you might have missed a minus sign there. Unless the Sun is an electron.

Re: Electrons may not weigh anything (2)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year ago | (#43313553)

Damn. I want to know what universe you live, in, those electrons are HEAVY.

The sun only weighs ~1.9891x10^30kg, an electron is almost 5.0 x 10^1000 times heavier!
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sun [wikipedia.org] )

Re: Electrons may not weigh anything (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43314691)

Is that what the sun weighs on earth or the moon?

What about the Energy offset? (5, Interesting)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about a year ago | (#43313349)

What about the energy offset?

How much energy is consumed by driving to blockbuster, picking up a physical tape that had to be produced and shipped to the store Vs. streaming from Netflix?
How about paying bills online vs mailing an envelope.

I'm not sure what the number is but it may be possible that for every increase in energy 'x' by computers there was '5x' amount of energy saved in other areas???

Re:What about the Energy offset? (4, Interesting)

mellon (7048) | about a year ago | (#43313605)

If you're going to go there, it's probably worth noting that one really big consumer of CPU cycles online is encryption. This isn't a big deal for regular stuff, but when you're encrypting a 4Gbyte video stream, that's a big deal. IOW, DRM is the next new carbon polluter...

Re:What about the Energy offset? (2)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#43313775)

Is it CPU cycles that take the power?

Suppose I stream a DRM'd movie from Netflix that's 4GB. I don't know how to measure it explicitly on my computer, but I know I can do the decode entirely in software, and that the TDP of my CPU is 35 watts. I doubt that the difference between playing the movie with and without encryption is that big of a fraction of that -- perhaps 5W?

How does that compare to the power used by the routers etc. that carried that data to me?

Re:What about the Energy offset? (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about a year ago | (#43313997)

Is it CPU cycles that take the power?

Suppose I stream a DRM'd movie from Netflix that's 4GB. I don't know how to measure it explicitly on my computer, but I know I can do the decode entirely in software, and that the TDP of my CPU is 35 watts. I doubt that the difference between playing the movie with and without encryption is that big of a fraction of that -- perhaps 5W?

How does that compare to the power used by the routers etc. that carried that data to me?

Good question, but unencrypted data caches better. If you and your neighbors all want to watch the same show, a torrent-type protocol that sends a bit of the show to each, then your computers trade amongst themselves, is much more efficient that sending a specific stream to each machine.

Re:What about the Energy offset? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313797)

I'm not pro-DRM, but I am pro-privacy, which also requires a lot of encryption. I find it hard to believe that encryption is really that expensive in terms of power. Server-side hardware encryption has existed for a while, and newer processors have hardware AES support [wikipedia.org] , which should greatly reduce the power cost of encryption on the client side (and make it easier on the server side as well).

Re:What about the Energy offset? (1)

skids (119237) | about a year ago | (#43314155)

Encryption algorithms are one of the few areas where software developers pay close attention to efficiency in both software and hardware implementations, because they need to run on embedded devices with extremely constrained power and computational resources.

However, with everything moving to dynamic languages running on VMs that can come up with things to do with "spare" CPU cycles, like thumb through their garbage collection area, re-JIT codepaths, and recalculate heuristics, we're probably headed in the wrong direction in the software area overall when it comes to power efficiency -- especially since the rationale for using these types of languages is primarily to cut development time and in that setting, asking developers to put in performance/economy hints will get the cold shoulder. Meanwhile rapid prototyping means everyone is perfectly happy to reinvent wheels, since it has become so very easy to do so.

Re:What about the Energy offset? (1)

DrStrangluv (1923412) | about a year ago | (#43313749)

This is definitely happening. It is a factor, and an important one. But let's not forget our Economics. Economics claims that the world's appetite for energy has some level of equilibrium to it, such that as energy is saved from one area (such transporting rental DVDs or bill envelopes) it's likely picked up by another area... and it's almost impossible to spot the corresponding increase.

The same effect applies to nearly every effort so far at reducing carbon emissions. There are lots of things aimed at specific places like cars or power plants, but not enough yet to actually change appetite, and truly alter the equilibrium state.

Re:What about the Energy offset? (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#43314021)

What about the energy offset?

What about just generating more power? Power for transportation is a bitch, since it still mostly comes from oil, but electrical power isn't so problematic.

Natural gas is nearly free right now, and burns quite clean. Solar is emerging, and in another 20 years will likely be viable at industrial scale. In the US we're way behind on our power distribution networks, but there's no technological hurdle there, it's just us being cheap about infrastructure (and large centralized power consumers are by far the easiest to build new capacity for). There's just no real reason to worry about electrical power consumed industrially.

Re:What about the Energy offset? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43314543)

Natural gas is nearly free right now, and burns quite clean.

Wait. What? Free exactly where? It's low cost compared to some other energy products, but hardly free. It's a PITA to move around and store.

And clean is relative ... (from the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] )

Natural gas is often described as the cleanest fossil fuel, producing less carbon dioxide per joule delivered than either coal or oil[32] and far fewer pollutants than other hydrocarbon fuels[citation needed]. However, in absolute terms, it comprises a substantial percentage of human carbon emissions, and this contribution is projected to grow. According to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (Working Group III Report, chapter 4), in 2004, natural gas produced about 5.3 billion tons a year of CO2 emissions, while coal and oil produced 10.6 and 10.2 billion tons respectively (figure 4.4). According to an updated version of the SRES B2 emissions scenario by 2030 natural gas would be the source of 11 billion tons a year, with coal and oil now 8.4 and 17.2 billion respectively because demand is increasing 1.9 percent a year.[53] (Total global emissions for 2004 were estimated at over 27,200 million tons.)

In addition, natural gas itself is a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide. Although natural gas is released into the atmosphere in much smaller quantities, methane is oxidized in the atmosphere into CO2, and hence natural gas affects the atmosphere for approximately 12 years, compared to CO2, which is already oxidized, and has effect for 100 to 500 years. Natural gas is composed mainly of methane, which has a radiative forcing twenty times greater than carbon dioxide. Based on such composition, a ton of methane in the atmosphere traps as much radiation as 20 tons of carbon dioxide; however, it remains in the atmosphere for 8–40 times less time. Carbon dioxide still receives the lion's share of attention concerning greenhouse gases because it is released in much larger amounts. Still, it is inevitable when natural gas is used on a large scale that some of it will leak into the atmosphere. (Coal methane not captured by coal bed methane extraction techniques is simply lost into the atmosphere. Current estimates by the EPA place global emissions of methane at 3 trillion cubic feet (85 km3) annually,[54] or 3.2 per cent of global production.[55] Direct emissions of methane represented 14.3 per cent of all global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in 2004.[56]

Solar is emerging, and in another 20 years will likely be viable at industrial scale.

It's already here but it's only cost comparative to $100 / barrel oil. Apple and Google have datacenters that are predominantly solar powered, but it's still expensive. Certainly a better way to go than fossil fuels.

In the US we're way behind on our power distribution networks, but there's no technological hurdle there, it's just us being cheap about infrastructure (and large centralized power consumers are by far the easiest to build new capacity for). There's just no real reason to worry about electrical power consumed industrially.

I just love statements like this. "There is no reason (other than reality) than we can't do x". There is plenty of hurdles involved in bringing our energy distribution up to speed. Just because it's not a matter of technology doesn't make the problem go away. Politics and economics are very, very powerful forces in our society.

Re:What about the Energy offset? (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#43314801)

Wait. What? Free exactly where? It's low cost compared to some other energy products, but hardly free. It's a PITA to move around and store.

Wow, I see /. is still the home of OCD literalism and obliviousness to hyperbole. How about: natural gas is currently amazingly cheap and plentiful by historical norms, and fuel cost isn't the limiting factor in generating more power right now.

It's already here but it's only cost comparative to $100 / barrel oil. Apple and Google have datacenters that are predominantly solar powered, but it's still expensive. Certainly a better way to go than fossil fuels.

Not this year. Solar is getting better, but has a ways to go before it's cheaper long-term than natural gas at today's prices. It's just a matter of time for solar, of course, but it's still mostly hype.

There is plenty of hurdles involved in bringing our energy distribution up to speed.

Sure, but it's not some hypothetical breakthrough like fusion. But for industrial generation, you can just build the power plant next door: lots of heavy industry does this, and it may well be the future of datacenters (or, like today, you just build datacenters next to the power plants instead).

Will this effect our ability to stream porn in 4k? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313351)

I'm not goin back to layin in the back yard and waiting for a boob shaped cloud to float by....

Seriously! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313367)

Solution to reduce internet traffic by 30%. Make massive spamming an offense punishable by death or life in prison. Set up an international enforcement body. I am 100% serious.

Re:Seriously! (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#43313401)

Set up an international enforcement body. I am 100% serious.

fascist.

Re:Seriously! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43313569)

fascist.

Think a lot of people would have been more OK with Hitler if he were gassing spammers and not Jews.

Re:Seriously! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313645)

Let's see...unsolicited email...or lawyers and Hollywood accountants and bankers? Hmmm

Re:Seriously! (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#43313791)

First they came for the spammers, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a spammer...

Re:Seriously! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313891)

Then someone spoofed my IP address and I heard a knock on the door...

Re:Seriously! (1)

PhamNguyen (2695929) | about a year ago | (#43313973)

Yes there will have to be sacrifices, but it's for the greater good. We can get back to principles like proportionate punishment once the evil of spam is thoroughly purged.

Re:Seriously! (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year ago | (#43314245)

What's your IP address?

Re:Seriously! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313547)

Your post advocates a

( ) technical (X) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante ( ) form-based

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work ...

Yada yada yada ...

(X) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money^W^Whis head

Yada yada ...
(X) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
(X) Open relays in foreign countries
(X) Asshats
(X) Jurisdictional problems
(X) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
(X) Extreme profitability of spam
(X) Technically illiterate politicians
(X) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
(X) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
(X) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering

Yada Yada

(X) I don't want the government reading my email
(X) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
(X) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down

Re:Seriously! (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43313989)

This is one of the most informative comments to this article. That's a reason both to celebrate and to lament :/

Re:Seriously! (1)

Aaron Gilliland (2879491) | about a year ago | (#43314305)

Welcome to /.

270 terrawatt hours (3, Insightful)

Zcar (756484) | about a year ago | (#43313379)

In how long?

Could be 30 gigawatts for a year, 300 megawatts for a decade, 370 gigawatts for a month or even 16.2 petawatts in a minute.

Units matter!

Re:270 terrawatt hours (3, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year ago | (#43313559)

I believe it was implied that this was per annum (270 TW-h/year).

If Wolfram Alpha is correct, that comes out to 31GW, which it notes is about 1/75th the world's power consumption. This seems relatively reasonable, more so than if you interpret it as per-month (16% the world's power) or per-decade (roughly the power of the Hoover Dam).

Still very confusing, though. Bad science.

Re:270 terrawatt hours (4, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#43313753)

Which of course, raises the question, why couldn't you just bloody SAY "31 Gigawatts" instead of tangling yourself in this foofaral of extraneous time units that you didn't even get right?

Re:270 terrawatt hours (1)

wjwlsn (94460) | about a year ago | (#43313759)

31 GW is still pretty damn high... that's like 31 average-sized nuclear power plants dedicated 100% to running the internet... or like 25 simultaneous lightning strikes to get a fraction of a second of porn.

I interpreted that sentence to mean 270 TWh over the 3 years it takes to double internet traffic (according to the article). That's still a little over 10 GW.

Re:270 terrawatt hours (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#43313771)

Which of course, raises the question, why couldn't you just bloody SAY "31 Gigawatts" instead of tangling yourself in this foofaraw of extraneous time units that you didn't even get right?

Re:270 terrawatt hours (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313799)

The 1/75th figure appears to be way too high.

According to Wikipedia, annual world energy consumption was 143,851 TWH in 2008.

If the entire Internet runs on 270 TWH annually...it is likely far more energy efficient than the activities/alternatives it displaced.

Re:270 terrawatt hours (1)

Zcar (756484) | about a year ago | (#43314193)

Energy consumption, or electrical energy consumption? Total energy consumption is greater than electrical energy consumption by a pretty big factor (fuel for vehicles, natural gas for heating/cooking, etc.). Wolfram reports annual world electrical consumption of about 20230 TWh or 2.3 TW, which gives about 1/75th.

Also getting rid of HTTP + HTML. (1)

master_p (608214) | about a year ago | (#43313395)

We need a binary protocol and tools to handle that binary protocol.

Yeah, I know, text is ubiquitous, but so this new protocol will be if it is open source.

But a binary protocol will reduce consumption by a large amount.

Re:Also getting rid of HTTP + HTML. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313531)

A large amount of traffic is already binary - streaming video / audio.

Re:Also getting rid of HTTP + HTML. (1)

jjeffries (17675) | about a year ago | (#43313597)

Re:Also getting rid of HTTP + HTML. (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43313975)

So, realistically, do we know how much HTTP traffic is compressed? Do we know if the gzip compression used is anywhere nearly as good as a dedicated compressing encoding could be? How energy efficient is running all this data through zlib vs. code that knows what it is encoding?

Re:Also getting rid of HTTP + HTML. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313917)

HTTP 2.0 [wikipedia.org] and SPDY [wikipedia.org] (basically Google's version of HTTP, most or all of which will up in HTTP 2.0) support header compression along with a few other tricks to make HTTP[S] more efficient. The human-readability of HTTP/HTML are very useful for debugging and extensibility, and the size cost is easily eliminated by compression; I'm not sure what the advantage of switching to a binary protocol would be.

Details (1)

tech.kyle (2800087) | about a year ago | (#43313405)

Recupero highlights two approaches for improving efficiency: smart standby and dynamic frequency scaling or CPU throttling.

Turning a 1 hour task at 100 watts in to a 2 hour task at 75 watts isn't efficient.

Re:Details (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313723)

You obviously don't scale the frequency down when the computer is fully loaded. Turning idle time at 100W into idle time at 1W is efficient.

why not just buy carbon credits? (2)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43313415)

and plant some trees? then it evens out

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313421)

Usually when people use stuff, that involves resources.

Re:Who cares? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43313539)

Usually when people use stuff, that involves resources.

And resources are finite. Hence the need for greater efficiency.

I think you may be in the wrong place - posts of mindless drivel, free of cogent thought belong to Yahoo, not Slashdot.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#43313823)

Resources aren't all that finite. Right now, what's the problem with using power? Carbon emissions. But there are lots of ways to make power that don't involve carbon-based fuels; we just need to do them.

Re:Who cares? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43314591)

Resources aren't all that finite. Right now, what's the problem with using power? Carbon emissions. But there are lots of ways to make power that don't involve carbon-based fuels; we just need to do them.

When you're Ruler of the Planet you can probably get that done. Dealing with real politics is such a drag.

Re:Who cares? (1)

PhamNguyen (2695929) | about a year ago | (#43314037)

I don't know if this is AC's point, but the fact that we need more efficience across the board, does not imply that everything needs to be done more efficiently.

E.g. the money that an NGO or a company looking to become "green" spends on making its data centres more efficient, might be better spent making its transportation more efficient, etc.

Until we have a global carbon tax, advocacy should focus on finding the "easy" efficiency gains, or conversely, companies or sectors performing less efficiently than is known to be technically possible.

Simply saying "everything must be made more efficient" is wrong, and inefficient.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#43314633)

...posts of mindless drivel, free of cogent thought belong to Yahoo, not Slashdot.

Hi! You must be new here...

Mobile devices (1)

Dan East (318230) | about a year ago | (#43313423)

On the other hand, more and more content is being consumed by mobile devices, which are vastly more energy efficient than desktop computers. Even desktop computers are more efficient than 10 years ago, primarily due to the complete abandonment of power hungry CRT monitors. So the good news is the part that's hard to control, which is the diverse and eclectic individuals who consume the content, are already many times more energy efficient than they were 10-15 years ago.

Re:Mobile devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43314469)

On the gripping hand, these wireless devices necessitate throwing large amounts of energy into the air to simply dissipate uselessly.

I'd be interested in that number, actually. I don't really know if it's at a problematic scale but it's definitely happening.

just switch to SSD for all storage (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43313431)

hard drives suck up the most power
i'm sure the government can make up a tax credit to get people to buy up SSD's

Re:just switch to SSD for all storage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313537)

Things like that and SoC will take care of most of the issue.

My current laptop blows away my old one speed wise. Same battery lasts 2x as long. It is using half the power... and that is with 2 spinny drives and an SSD.

There is no 1 magic bullet for getting to lowpower high speed devices. I fully expect within 10 years to have equiv performance of my desktop/laptops in my pocket phone.

The real issue is many of these devices last 4+ years now for the task at hand. They are 'good enough'. By the time they need replacing hardware has moved on by a considerable amount.

Also there is no need for a tax credit. Basically SSD's suffer from a size/price issue today. But think about this 4 years ago a 64 gig SSD was just crazy talk. Now its affordable and much faster.

Moore's law marches on...

Re:just switch to SSD for all storage (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#43313827)

Funny, people seem to be buying the things just fine without artificial market distortions.

And hard drives don't take that much power...

Re:just switch to SSD for all storage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43314107)

Compared to books they do... at least once you have the device plugged in and you're comparing rate of energy use or energy per stored bit.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313433)

> Internet traffic volume is doubling every three years

Compute power doubles every 18 months. And storage doubles faster than that. Performance per watt has been growing exponentially. Where's the problem?

I looked at the figures, and they are laughable. Right. Good luck using "smart" power management to reduce clock frequencies *between packets*. If you've got that much overcapacity, you can just put an entire node to sleep and redistribute the load.

Granted, I have not read the article in science, but it seems like this got the green-light from editors who are not in the field.

Non-story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313445)

This is like saying gas usage increased faster than engine efficiency when cars became widely adopted. Well duh, more people than ever are doing more things then ever online, and that is going to consume more resources. I would like to see how this curve correlates to user counts and usage rates.

Don't worry, every human generate power. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313465)

We'll just put all the people in energy pods, and the problem will be solved.

Best Author/Title correlation ever. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313479)

Did anyone notice the meaning in Italian of the paper author's last name is "re-forged recycling"?

Re:Best Author/Title correlation ever. (1)

Aaron Gilliland (2879491) | about a year ago | (#43314377)

I was ready to call bullshit on the whole story when I saw the name. Non parlo italiano, but "recupero" in an efficiency story stands out.

Computing is efficient (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43313481)

Computing is orders of magnitude more efficient efficient than the traditional ways it replaces.

Better editors, anyone... (1)

skeptikal (33781) | about a year ago | (#43313573)

>>> Electrons may not weigh anything, but it takes some heavy lifting...

Year-on-year the editing gets worse and worse.

What are we, 5-th graders?

Re:Better editors, anyone... (1)

Aaron Gilliland (2879491) | about a year ago | (#43313939)

Oh I don't know about that. /. editing has been consistently pisspoor through the years. I'm just glad that the Roland Piquepaille years are behind us.

Re:Better editors, anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43314261)

How does your google plus account relate to your slashdot account?

Did slashdot create a new UID for you when you signed up with your google credentials?

Electrons have mass (1)

Maritz (1829006) | about a year ago | (#43313601)

They're not photons or neutrinos. So yeah they do weigh something. If I was writing a submission summary I'd check that kind of statement in case I end up looking like (more of a) gimp. ;)

Re:Electrons have mass (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#43313851)

Neutrinos have mass too; this was discovered by the fact that they oscillate from one flavor eigenstate to another.

This is sort of like the way Catholics have mass; they have a cracker that oscillates from bread to jesus, showing that the eigenstates of flavor aren't stationary states of the Hamiltonian...

Re:Electrons have mass (1)

Maritz (1829006) | about a year ago | (#43314015)

Heheh yeah. I've heard the consensus lately is that neutrinos have a very small but probably non-zero rest mass.

Angular Momentum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43314135)

Let me know when you 2 scholars have finished computing the angular momentum of the internet.

Re:Angular Momentum (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#43314561)

Per the Daily Mail, that great bastion of scientific rigor, we find that the internet has a mass of about 50 grams, "the same as a strawberry":

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2057018/Internet-weighs-strawberry.html [dailymail.co.uk]

Then the angular momentum of the internet about the center of the Earth is (50 grams) / (24 hours) * R, where R is the mean radius of the internet from the axis of rotation of the Earth. Computing R is hard, since the parts of the internet in Europe (far northern latitudes) will contribute less than those near the equator. If we take R_earth cos 45 as an estimate for the radius (which is probably sensible, roughly splitting the difference between Europe and the US/Japan/Korea), we get that the angular momentum of the Earth is

2.6 kilogram-meters per second.

Internet is energy ineffcient which.. (1)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43313623)

.. makes sense, after all, there was no consideration about the actual power requirements, the Internet has been work in progress since its inception. It has grown, but it's never been looked at as a whole in terms of hardware. But to make it energy efficient in a purist sense, there would have to be enforced standards on hardware requirements which would entail ISPs to reevaluate and tweak their setups. This won't be cheap, but I'm sure it will still be cost-effective compared to business as usual.

Re:Internet is energy ineffcient which.. (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#43313881)

still be cost-effective compared to business as usual.

If it were cost-effective, wouldn't businesses have already done it?

The problem is that power is artificially cheap; the price of the damage done by carbon emissions is not included in the price of burning coal. Seen this way, a carbon tax isn't an artificial meddling in the market; it's the removal of the subsidy that people burning carbon enjoy right now, in that they can cause environmental damage without bearing the cost (or, if you like, consume part of a limited resource without having to pay fair market value for it, where that limit is the sustainable level of emissions).

Remove that, and you won't have to impose efficiency from above; people will do it naturally, as a way of saving money.

Re:Internet is energy ineffcient which.. (1)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about a year ago | (#43313991)

For some reason many people see externalizing costs as completely okay and not a subsidy but if you suggest taking away the ability to externalize costs that is seen as a tax.

I often wonder how cheap coal would be if the full costs had to be paid for using it instead of the taxpayer and others being stuck with the environmental, medical etc bills. Is natural gas really a cheap power source? If they had to pay the full cost of the environmental damage they are doing how cheap would it be?

I do know that natural gas fracking could be done safely but it would also be more expensive than it is now and companies are cutting too many corners. Would natural gas fracking still be a good source of natural gas if it had to be done safely?

If a company makes 1 million in profit but costs the society 2 million in medical and environmental issues that is a loss for the society not a profit and we need to realize that.

Re:Internet is energy ineffcient which.. (2)

Aaron Gilliland (2879491) | about a year ago | (#43313921)

Every sentence in your post should be wrapped in "citation needed". What constitutes "The Internet" in this discussion? By what metric is it inefficient? What is the basis for your claim that there was no consideration about the actual power requirements? What do you mean by "energy efficient in a purist sense"?

So let me translate this... (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about a year ago | (#43313681)

Internet pron is causing global warming, m'ok? Save the environment, buy print editions of Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler.. or whatever else gets you off.

1.21 gigawatts (1)

wjwlsn (94460) | about a year ago | (#43313685)

hours in 3 years: 3*365.25*24 = 26298 h
average power over that period: 270 TWh / 26298 h = 10267 MW

So... like 8 simultaneous lightning bolts to run the internet for a fraction of a second?

Re:1.21 gigawatts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43314209)

If only...

Make internet privacy an environmental issue. (2, Insightful)

big_e_1977 (2012512) | about a year ago | (#43313687)

Government monitoring and storage of all communications of its citizenry has got to have a tremendous carbon footprint. As does all the extra electricity used by Facebook, Google, Double Click et all to track my every move on the internet. How much energy could be saved by simply serving web requests, and not data mining it for government and corporate interests?

Re:Make internet privacy an environmental issue. (1)

Aaron Gilliland (2879491) | about a year ago | (#43313843)

Oh, okay. THAT's the problem. Data mining for government and corporate interests. What the hell does "simply serving web requests" mean? I don't even know where to start with this.

Re:Make internet privacy an environmental issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43314709)

Oh, okay. THAT's the problem. Data mining for government and corporate interests. What the hell does "simply serving web requests" mean? I don't even know where to start with this.

This from an idiot using Google Plus no less.

I use RequestPolicy for Firefox (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/requestpolicy/) in addition to AdBlock. Previously, I had no idea how many sites are using Google Analytics, it's almost everywhere. Not only am I doing something to protect my privacy, but I'm saving a bit of energy as well.

Terawatt hours? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313853)

Ferchrissake -- get your units right.

I wonder how much is Java and XML to blame... (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43313933)

I wonder how much does impact does Java and enterprisy XML-based web services have in all that. XML is a cache hog and memory bandwidth hog, never mind a network bandwidth hog. Java has huge runtime costs of abstractions needed for good software design. I think it's time to come up with something where the abstractions' cost is pushed to compile time. You know, something that has been solved long ago in the form of LISP code-generating macros. Sigh.

not Java or XML it's Video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43314079)

Killing us softly, entertaining us 'til death pries our illusions from our cold, dead hands.

Wouldn't it be ironic if the world's greatest communication leap accelerates global climate change and throws us all right over the tipping point?!

You fail i7!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43313941)

Efficiency is nice (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43314003)

But I prefer robust, something that can tolerate the occasional anchor drop, route around censorship, and protect anonymity.

Stop collecting all that data, then! (1)

genericmk (2767843) | about a year ago | (#43314243)

If governments and corporations would just stop collecting all that data on everyone...

Predicting the future to stay green (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43314323)

I find it odd that the smart standby graphic displays devices spooling up in anticipation of packets. prehaps they are using quantum entanglement devices to instiontannously signal an incomming packet and by the time the packet arrives, the server is spooled up.

How much energy is saved (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43314697)

By not having to mail letters, package software in retail packaging and ship to a store or end user, travel to other office locations for meetings, and other spendy endeavors?

Overall the Internet is a huge energy saver.

Or you could just switch to DC power and SSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43314745)

Or, instead, you could just switch to DC power (15 pct drop) and Solid State Drives.

But that would be ... prudent.

Try not hosting them in hot climates, like the ones you're creating by using oil and coal to power them.

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