Monthly Archives: December 2007

Always On

Published: (c) December 11, 2007

image by Victoria Roberts

Q. Many devices that are “always on” while seemingly “off” draw power so that they can spring into action on demand. How much electricity does a television, for example, use when plugged in but not turned on?

A. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has done extensive studies of standby power since 1996 for the Department of Energy. In particularly inefficient appliances, standby power use can be as high as 20 watts.

“For a single appliance, this may not seem like much,” the laboratory’s Web site says, “but when we add up the power use of the billions of appliances in the U.S., the power consumption of appliances that are not being used is substantial.”

An exact reading of the standby power drawn by an individual appliance can be obtained only by using a fairly expensive energy meter or by turning off all the rest of a home’s appliances and checking the utility meter.

For making an estimate, a laboratory Web site — standby.lbl.gov/data.html — provides tables of the minimum, average and maximum power used by appliances that cannot be switched off completely without being unplugged. For television sets, the laboratory estimates a minimum power use of zero watts, an average of 5 watts and a maximum of 21.6 watts.

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What Do You Have Hanging On Your Walls?

Picasso's Weeping Woman

I just love to do cryptograms and the other day I completed one that got me to thinking. It was a quote by Rita Rudner that read, “I was going to have cosmetic surgery done until I noticed that the doctor’s office was full of portraits of Picasso.” I can just see her skeedataling out of his office as fast as her feet would take her. Moreover, can you blame her? I think I would probably do the same.

The thought occurred to me that we sometimes have things that represent our businesses in what we think are beneficial ways when in reality they are doing more harm than good. Let’s look at this scenario from the doctor’s point of view. The art he chose to display was well known and proved his love for all things artistic. However, to the viewing patient it held a completely different meaning.

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