The vXgirl was given some literature at school. It’s from the power company … you know … well-meaning propaganda, given by the unscientific to the uninformed.
Disclaimer: I can be a bit of a conservation scold, so I have no problem with the intention of the literature … just with its stupidity.
Anyway, this was an 8 page flyer passed out to elementary school students. It’s written for kids, but I wonder if it was written by kids as well.
My biggest complaint is with this stunner:
First it tells you to total up your number of bulbs by type. Good, so far.
If I can go so far as to use spreadsheet labeling, you’ve just filled in A1 and A2, and summed them to get A3=A1+A2.
Then it tells you to multiply those totals by the annual cost of electricity per bulb. Still good. You now have your total cost of electricity for all bulbs of each type in your house.
Continuing the spreadsheet theme, you’ve just made D1=A1*C1 (and D2=A2*C2).
Lastly, it tells you to multiply the entries in column D by the total number of bulbs (line 3). Make no mistake about it: that’s a direction to multiply by A3. This means that you’ll have E1=(A1+A2)*A1*C1 (and something similar for E2).
Yes, you’re reading that correctly: they’re telling kids that the way to measure the cost of energy is to square the number of light bulbs they have.
BTW: Column B is pointless if they’re going to direct you to use Column C.
The rest is small beer … but it sure is fun.
Efficiency just must not be selling as a buzz word these days:
Why call it wattsmart if you’re already calling it efficient? And, if it’s such a big deal to call it wattsmart … wouldn’t you title the section that way? I mean … they titled the whole booklet with it:
I’d think this already puts wattsmart above energy efficiency in the pecking order. Perhaps putting both italics and bold typefaces into one word just addled the author’s brain.
This appears alongside a graphic showing windmills, solar cells, and dams:
Yes, we make a big stink about our renewable sources of energy, and then tell the kids that we don’t use anything renewable to make electricity. Perhaps this is a Freudian slip (if I can project that behavior onto a firm).
I do sort of get the point of this one: that we turn primary/natural resources into a secondary/useful resource:
But having said that, is it OK to call electricity a resource? And, if, say coal and the electricity from coal are both resources, aren’t you double-counting?
Here’s how to keep the heat out:
Most middle-schoolers know that once the infared radiation gets inside the window, it’s in for good. The blinds just keep it … on the other side of the blinds.
I don’t even know where to start with this one:
Hmmm. Using both crude and unrefined is repetitive. How is petroleum different from oil (again, remember the target audience)? Isn’t refined oil already a petroleum product? Is there any such thing as refined oil? Isn’t the whole point that most of it isn’t oil any more … thus the different names?
Now, I know we could quibble about this one:
But … do you know of any nuclear plants that don’t use uranium? Yes, they can use plutonium … but why not say that? Plus, to me the wording suggests that some nuclear plants might just be using coal. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a subsidy scheme in Europe that can make that a viable alternative.
This is really a disaster:
Hydropower is not “energy from water”. It’s the conversion of the potential energy of water at one altitude into kinetic energy by letting it drop to a lower altitude. In short, it’s capturing gravity with water.
From the department of redundancy department:
Read that one again: “Wind is energy from the wind”. Yes, it really does say that.
Now perhaps I’m a little nitpicky we these, but it seems to me if you’re going to give a bullet list under a heading, the first item shouldn’t be repeating or defining the heading:
I didn’t selectively edit those: reuse and recycle have one suggestion, but reduce only has an alternative definition.
Here’s how to save water (I can see that the power company might want me to save hot water, but not just any water):
That’s right! The glass is half-full with less water, and half-empty with more air.
You’re gonna’ love this one. They recommend you use CFL’s instead of incandescent bulbs. Fair enough … but we all know about the disposal issues, and they’ve go that covered:
Go ahead, click this link http://www.getenergysmart.org. It redirects an interested junior CFL recycler in the intermountain west to this New York State government site … with 355 words … not one of which is either CFL or disposal. If you put in “CFL disposal” into its search bar, you do get 3 links on the same site, and if you click through again … you get a map of places to safely dispose your CFL’s in New York. I’ll make sure to have the vXgirl bring any dead CFL’s I have in Utah when I visit Buffalo. Oh … one thing … where do I found out if it’s safe to bring a CFL in her Hello Kitty luggage?
And omigosh … it gets so much better. It shows a map of New York, and a text box where you can enter your zip code. And if you enter one that’s not in New York … it crashes!
And you gotta’ love the ending:
That’s right kids! If you fill out the survey about how to save energy, we’ll give you a nightlight to save less of it!
N.B. I wrote this a year ago, and am posting it now that my daughter is out of that grade and school.