Mobility & Global Warming

5:10 PM -- You don’t have to be a rocket (or any other form of) scientist to appreciate the impact of global warming. And you don’t have to read the big report that’s making the news but is really just the latest in a long list of items of evidence that something very profound is happening. Since an effective solution requires that our species come together as a planet, and since we have a very poor history of being any good whatsoever at that, my assumption is that tribalism or a pandemic will ultimately solve the problem. The human population of this planet is much too high, and, while reducing it will have a dire impact on the global economy (just for example, try getting your social security check without a lot of kids being born to contribute the funds; this is already a problem), we have a decision to make regardless -- a lower standard of living or, perhaps, even extinction.

Working in an industry that contributes to the problem, I’ve been thinking about this issue for a while. Our part of the problem comes from the demand we create -- specifically, all those batteries need chargers. And we’ve been pretty brute-force with our uses of these; how many cube transformers (a.k.a. wall warts) are merrily sucking Watts out of the planet when they don’t need to? It might very well be that little steps, like fixing this problem, can really add up here, and, while the impacts of global warming will undoubtedly be felt for centuries, the sooner we start on a solution, the better.

So, someone please invent a circuit that turns off the transformer when the battery is fully charged, and turns it back on when the battery self-discharges to, say, 50 percent. If every cube transformer connected to a rechargeable battery were required to do this, how much energy might be saved? I’ll bet it’s significant. And it is at the very least time for us to do something significant, as an industry, and as individuals.

— Craig Mathias is Principal Analyst at the Farpoint Group , an advisory firm specializing in wireless communications and mobile computing. Special to Unstrung

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