Magazine article Information Today

Six of One, Half Dozen of Another

Magazine article Information Today

Six of One, Half Dozen of Another

Article excerpt

OK, "they" tell me email is mostly spam now. I don't have to look far to see my version of the truth. Day in and day out, messages that are unrelated to my current work assignments or job responsibilities come flowing into my email box at about the rate of about one every 10 minutes.

However, my personal experience is bland if you believe the figure Sophos put out this summer. Its security report for 2Q 2008 says 96.5% of email received at businesses in the U.S. is spam. That's 24 out of 25 messages and up from 92.3% since the beginning of the year (www .sophos.com/sophos/docs/eng/papers/sophos-security-report-jul08-srna.pdf).

"They" also tell me the internet is eating up massive amounts of electricity, making it look like a not-so-green alternative after all. Estimates vary, but the numbers most often bandied about put data center usage at 1.2% of the total electricity used in the U.S., the same amount consumed by color TVs. And that was in 2005; the rate is growing at 14% a year (http://enterprise.amd.com/Downloads/svrpwrusecompletefinal.pdf).

Harper's Magazine recently equated the amount of electricity that will be used by just one of Google's server plants to the amount of kilo wattage needed to power 82,000 houses in the U.S. by 2011. That's 103 megawatts to you and me, and I would not want to be on the receiving end of that bill (http://harpers.org/media/slideshow/annot/2008- 03/zoom.html).

All those data center stats don't even take into consideration all the PCs (and Macs) attached to the receiving end of the internet. (In some instances, those are servers too.) And if you think the amount of power consumed by the big data centers is something, think about how the little amounts used by every computer can add up into a factor several times greater.

In an answer to a question posted on Uclue. …

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