Economy Down, Reading is Up, Less Energy Use

Ann Patchett writes in the WSJ about the Triump of Reading.

There will be those who attribute the rise in reading to our current decline of cash, and if that is actually the case I would at least be able to think I forfeited my retirement account to a worthy cause. It's true, as a source of entertainment reading ranks somewhere between cheap and free, depending on where you get your books. A movie can give you two hours of entertainment, but a book can go on for days or even weeks. My friend Lucy loved to point out that she started reading "War and Peace" on the first day of the first Gulf War and was still reading when the war was over. But I do not give all the credit for reading's rise to the collapse of the global financial markets. I believe as a nation we have touched the cultural bottom and are ready to be smart again. I think we're reading more because we've seen as many episodes of American Idol as our collective consciousness can bear and even if we weren't flat broke we'd still be in the mood for a book. Everyone improves under good leadership, which is why we all appreciate a teacher, a librarian, or a bookstore clerk who is willing to steer a child toward a copy of William Steig's "Doctor DeSoto." When Barack Obama, our soon-to-be-author-in-chief, announced on "60 Minutes" that he'd like to see poetry readings in the White House, I found myself thinking that change was going to come.

[Fiction Books Are on the Rise] Adam Niklewicz


It is interesting to think why people are reading more.  Is it because of the economy, or Patchett points out “we have touched a cultural bottom, and ready to be smart again.”

Whatever your view, the good thing is all this reading is greener than most other activities. the NYTimes has a blog post about NRDC going after game consoles.

Consumption Study Takes Aim at Game Consoles


Green Gadgets

In a new study about how much energy video game consoles consume, the Natural Resources Defense Council found that consoles in use today consume “an estimated 16 billion-kilowatt hours per year,” which, the report goes on to translate, is “roughly equal to the annual electricity use of the city of San Diego.”

Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist at NRDC and the study’s lead researcher, said gamers often leave consoles on when they’re not playing in order to return to the middle of a level that can’t be saved and reloaded in the same place if the power is turned off.

“That’s the main reason some people don’t turn it off,” Mr. Horowitz said, adding that “although Microsoft and Sony have added power settings options to automatically turn off the consoles after a set amount of time,” console owners often ignore the option “because they’ll lose their place when they’re done.”

In terms of overall energy use for the best-selling consoles — whether regularly turned off or not — the report describes Nintendo’s Wii, which draws 16 watts of power when in use, as a “juice sipper.” Microsoft’s Xbox 360, drawing 119 watts while active, sits in the middle. Sony’s PlayStation 3 was rated as the power hog, at 150 watts while in use.