Green Computing

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Green Computing:

Green Computing Why computer energy is often wasteful leaving the computer on when not in use (CPU and fan consume power, screen savers consume power) printing is often wasteful how many of you print out your emails or meeting agendas printing out partial drafts for a “paperless” society, we tend to use more paper today than before computer-prevalence pollution manufacturing techniques packaging disposal of computers and components toxicity as we will see, there are toxic chemicals used in the manufacturing of computers and components which can enter the food chain and water!

Energy Use of PCs:

Energy Use of PCs CPU uses 120 Watts CRT uses 150 Watts 8 hours of usage, 5 days a week = 562 KWatts if the computer is left on all the time without proper power saver modes, this can lead to 1,600 KWatts for a large institution, say a university of 40,000 students and faculty, the power bill for just computers can come to $2 million / year Energy use comes from electrical current to run the CPU, motherboard, memory running the fan and spinning the disk(s) monitor (CRTs consume more power than any other computer component) printers

Reducing Energy Consumption:

Reducing Energy Consumption Turn off the computer when not in use, even if just for an hour Turn off the monitor when not in use (as opposed to running a screen saver) Use power saver mode in power saver mode, the top item is not necessary, but screen savers use as much electricity as any normal processing, and the screen saver is not necessary on a flat panel display Use hardware/software with the Energy Star label Energy Star is a “seal of approval” by the Energy Star organization of the government (the EPA) Don’t print unless necessary and you are ready Use LCDs instead of CRTs as they are more power efficient


Manufacturing Microchip fabrication has over 400 distinct steps which involve 4 general phases Throughout, the process requires a great deal of ultra-pure water and the chips are bathed in chemical solvents the resources used are shown below

Chemical Elements Used: Lead:

Chemical Elements Used: Lead used in soldering of printed circuit boards and other components also used in glass for CRTs It is estimated that between 1997 and 2004, 1.2 billion tons of lead was used in computer components The problem: lead can cause damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems, blood system, kidneys, endocrine system and cause negative effects on child brain development lead accumulates in the environment and has toxic effects on plants, animals and microorganisms electronics contribute 40% of the total amount of lead found in landfills and can make its way from landfills into the water supplies

Chemical Elements Used: Mercury:

Chemical Elements Used: Mercury Mercury is used in batteries, switches, housing, printed circuit boards mercury is found in medical equipment, data transmission equipment, telecommunications equipment and cell phones as well if is estimated that 22% of the yearly use of mercury is in electrical and electronic equipment although a small amount of mercury is used, it is used in nearly all computer construction amounting to 400,000 pounds of mercury used between 1997 and 2004 The problem mercury spreads out in water transforming into methylated mercury which easily accumulates in living organisms it enters the food chain through fish that swim in polluted waters methylated mercury can cause chronic brain damage

Other Chemical Elements:

Other Chemical Elements Cadmium is used in resistors for chips, infrared detectors and in semiconductors (plus older CRTs) estimated that between 1997 and 2004, 2 million pounds of cadmium was used in computer components The problem: cadmium is classified as toxic, these compounds accumulate in the human body, particularly the kidneys cadmium is absorbed through respiration and also food intake cadmium has a half life of 30 years so that cadmium can poison a human body slowly through the human’s life Hexavalent Chromium (Chromium VI) is used to treat steel plates (an anti-corrosive) and it is estimated that between 1997 and 2004, 1.2 million pounds were used in computer components if you’ve seen Erin Brokovich, you know that this can lead to cancer and a number of other medical problems


Plastics Plastics are found throughout the computer, largely from casings but also internally to hold components together 4 billion pounds of plastic were used to build computers and components between 1997 and 2004 One specific form of plastics used is polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which is used in cabling and housings PVC is difficult to recycle and the production and burning of PVC generates dioxins and furans The plastics in computers are often treated with flame retardant chemicals, particularly brominated flame retardant these chemicals can act as endocrine disrupters and increase risk of several forms of cancer they have been found entering the food chain

Chemical Elements Found in Computers and Components:

Chemical Elements Found in Computers and Components Elements in bulk: lead, tin, copper, silicon, carbon, iron and aluminum Elements in small amounts: cadmium and mercury Elements in trace amounts: germanium, gallium, barium, nickel, tantalum, indium, vanadium, terbium, beryllium, gold, europium, titanium, ruthenium, cobalt, palladium, manganese, silver, antimony, bismuth, selenium, niobium, yttrium, rhodium, platinum, arsenic, lithium, boron, americium List of examples of devices containing these elements almost all electronics contain lead & tin (as solder) and copper (as wire & PCB tracks), though the use of lead-free solder is now spreading rapidly lead: solder, CRT monitors (Lead in glass), Lead-acid battery

List Continued:

List Continued List of examples of devices containing these elements tin: solder copper: copper wire, printed circuit board tracks aluminum: nearly all electronic goods using more than a few watts of power iron: steel chassis, cases & fixings silicon: glass, transistors, ICs, Printed circuit boards. nickel & cadmium: nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries lithium: lithium-ion battery zinc: plating for steel parts gold: connector plating, primarily in computer equipment mercury: fluorescent tubes (numerous applications), tilt switches (pinball games, mechanical doorbells) sulphur: lead-acid battery carbon: steel, plastics, resistors


Disposal Consider that the average computer lifespan is about 2 years (cell phones < 2 years) 10 years ago, the lifespan of a computer was 5 years between 1997 and 2004, it is estimated that 315 million computers became obsolete (and were discarded, donated, or recycled) 183 million computers were sold in 2004 (674 million cell phones!) New users in China (178 million by 2010) and India (80 million by 2010) will require the creation of new computers Disposal of these devices constituted 20-50 million tons per year (about 5% of the total waste of the planet) this waste is called e-waste where are we going to put all of it?

Land Fills:

Land Fills Europe has outlawed using landfills for computer components the US and Europe export a lot of e-waste to Asian landfills (especially China even though China has outlawed the importing of e-waste) in addition, incineration of computer components leads to air pollution and airborne toxins

Other Solutions:

Other Solutions Reuse: donate your computer components to people who may not have or have lesser quality computers inner city schools, churches, libraries, third world countries this however leads to the older computers being dumped but there is probably no way around this as eventually the older computers would be discarded anyway Refurbish: rather than discarding your computer when the next generation is released, just get a new CPU and memory chips – upgrade rather than replace while you will still be discarded some components, you will retain most of the computer system (e.g., monitor, the system unit housing, cables) Are there adequate incentives to do either of the above? Do computer companies encourage refurbishing/upgrading?

One More Solution: Recycling:

One More Solution: Recycling If companies can recycle the plastics and other components, this can greatly reduce waste and toxins however, the hazardous materials in e-waste can harm the recycle workers if they are not properly protected in undeveloped countries, a lot of the recycling chores are left up to unprotected children! Developed countries now have facilities for recycling e-waste however, in Europe, the plastics are discarded instead of recycled because the flame retardant chemicals are too toxic to work with To resolve these problems, the computer manufacturers must start using recyclable chemicals

How Do the Companies Rate?:

How Do the Companies Rate? 8: Nokia - regained its top position for eliminating the worst chemicals from many products still needs to report on its recycling rate percentage 7.3: Dell - still among the top but loses points for not having models free of the worst chemicals strong support for global take back 7.3: Lenovo - dropping down the rank for not having a clear global take back program still missing out on products free of the worst chemicals on the market 7: Sony Ericsson - among the top with clear timeline to have products free of the worst chemicals by 2008 need better chemicals take back reporting program


Continued 6.7: Samsung - strong position for having a good chemical policy, but still lack products that are free from the worst chemicals its take back system is not yet global and need improvement 6.7: Motorola - some products on the market are free from the worst chemicals but loses points for not providing clear timelines for eliminating these chemicals in all products score points on reporting the recycling rate 6: Toshiba - good improvement particularly on waste and take back criteria moved forward for providing some models without the worst chemicals and for timelines for complete phase out 6: Fujitsu-Siemens - some models free of worst chemicals, but loses point for a weak take back and recycling program


Continued 5.7: Acer - standing still with improved chemical policies but no models free of the worst chemicals needs to improve on take back program 5.3: Apple - top mover with concrete timelines to eliminate the worst chemicals loses points for not have a green product on the market and for a weak take back program 5.3: HP - a free-faller, dropping down for failing to provide clear timelines for eliminating the worst chemicals it looses points for weak definition of take back policies 5: Panasonic - moving up for making available products free of the worst chemicals loses point for poor take back program 4: Sony - at the bottom of the rank for losing penalty point for inconsistent take back policies some models without the worst chemicals

The Internet and Censorship:

The Internet and Censorship There has been great concern since the commercialization of the Internet that material harmful to minors will be made too easily available the government would like to generate legislature and (or) obtain technological measures to prevent this However, various government legislation has not worked – having been challenged by the Supreme Court as being unconstitutional and of course available technology is not very good at blocking or filtering based on content Lets start off by looking at why legal action is problematic

The First Amendment:

The First Amendment Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances It is the second item above that is the difficulty – if a law is passed that is felt to violate freedom of speech, then the law is unconstitutional notice that the first amendment does not grant freedom of speech in any situation, it merely makes it illegal for the US government to pass laws that limit speech

When is Free Speech Not Legal?:

When is Free Speech Not Legal? Free speech does not include liable or slander Obscenities are not covered by the first amendment State laws can restrict freedom of speech 40 states have obscenity laws and there are many cities and counties that have further restrictions state regulations have laws such as public indecency laws and sex supermarket laws zoning laws (locations where certain types of establishments are not permitted such as topless bars or adult bookstores) nuisance laws (allows closure of establishments if prostitution, lewd conduct or high-risk sexual conduct occur on the premises) obscene device laws (prohibits sales of devices used in sexual activities) harmful-to-minor sales

Obscenity vs. Indecency:

Obscenity vs. Indecency There are no specific definitions for either term but is largely associated with ultimate sexual acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated; and masturbation, lewd exhibition of genitals, excretory functions and sadomasochistic abuse The Supreme Court provided the following three-prong test for identifying obscene material an average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest (i.e., material having a tendency to excite lustful thoughts); the material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and the material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value

Legal Protection from Obscenity:

Legal Protection from Obscenity Obscenity is not protected by the first amendment and so there are numerous laws that apply, including laws against: mailing obscene matter importation or use of a common carrier to transport obscene matter broadcasting obscene language interstate transportation of obscene matter wholesale and retail sale of obscene matter which has been transported in interstate commerce (must be engaged in business of selling or transferring obscenity) distribution of obscene matter by cable or satellite TV making an obscene communication by means of telephone


Indecency Indecent material contains sexual or excretory content that does not rise to the level of obscenity the courts have held that indecent material is protected by the First Amendment and cannot be banned entirely Indecency is protected, however, there are specific laws regarding the broadcasting or displaying of indecent material in order to minimize the risk that children may hear/see it FCC has determined there is a reasonable risk that children will be in the audience from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., local time and therefore, the FCC prohibits station licensees from broadcasting indecent material during that period

Applying Obscenity Laws to the Internet:

Applying Obscenity Laws to the Internet Attempts to regulate the Internet with obscenity laws date back to the mid 90s when control of the Internet was passed from the NSF to commercial interests There was a deep concern that, with the average family gaining access to the Internet, children would find obscene materials notice that neither obscenity, nor federal laws, nor the FCC attempt to regulate violent material on tv or the Internet, only obscene material! There are significant challenges legal – enacting laws that do not violate the first amendment technological – how can the government police the Internet? Technological solutions may work partially for text, but not graphics geographical – how can the government legislate Internet `servers in other countries?

An Interesting Legal Case:

An Interesting Legal Case In 1996, the US Court of Appeals heard the case of the US vs. Thomas the defendants were a husband and wife who ran an electronic bulletin board from their home in California the bboard provided material that included sexual acts, bestiality, torture and excretory fetishism the case originated as legal action from the Western District of Tennessee for violating federal obscenity laws Tennessee brought this case forward because people in Tennessee were members of the bboard The defendants claimed, as per the three-prong definition, that the definition of obscenity in California was substantially different from Tennessee and therefore they were not guilty of transmitting obscene materials the appeals court upheld the original guilty verdict

Another Legal Case:

Another Legal Case In 2005, a website (Red Rose Stories) providing a wide range of everyday and erotic stories was raided by the FBI’s anti-porn squad the owner of the site posted this message “I am being charged with ‘OBSCENITIES’ and face a minimum term of 3 years in federal prison. Our stories are NOT protected speech. Please, please, be careful out there. When it comes to free speech SEX STORIES are NOT covered. The ONLY legal sex stories are those that involve a man and a woman, consenting to a MISSIONARY POSITION SEX, in a dark room … They are trying to say that fantasy stories are illegal.” the owner has not yet been tried, but since this (and other raids), a number of such websites have removed material that might be considered obscene, or shut down altogether

Federal Legislature for the Internet:

Federal Legislature for the Internet The Communications Decency Act (1996) this was part of a larger act regarding telecommunications, but this act specifically makes it illegal if anyone knowingly (A) uses an interactive computer service to send to a specific person or persons under 18 years of age, or (B) uses any interactive computer service to display in a manner available to a person under 18 years of age, any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs

CDA’s Legal Challenge:

CDA’s Legal Challenge In 1997, ACLU vs. Reno saw the Supreme Court overturn part of the act as being unconstitutional, with the following statement We are persuaded that the CDA lacks the precision that the First Amendment requires when a statute regulates the content of speech. In order to deny minors access to potentially harmful speech, the CDA effectively suppresses a large amount of speech that adults have a constitutional right to receive and to address to one another. That burden on adult speech is unacceptable if less restrictive alternatives would be at least as effective in achieving the legitimate purpose that the statute was enacted to serve. The rest of the CDA, including the "safe harbor" provision protecting ISPs from being liable for the words of others, was not affected by this decision and remains law

Two Further Acts:

Two Further Acts In 1998, the Child Online Protect Act was passed into law this would protect minors from harmful sexual material on the Internet this law was also overturned as potentially violating the first amendment although many states have gone on to pass their own versions In 1999, the Children’s Internet Protection Act was passed into law this act requires that libraries and other publicly accessible Internet computers must run filtering software or else federal funds can be discontinued

Further Legal Challenges:

Further Legal Challenges While the CIPA was not overturned, it is not without controversy the law has been modified, based on a law suit, to permit such sites to shut down the filtering software on request of an adult if the adult can show proper cause for why the software should be disabled (e.g., research, educational purposes) the American Library Association attempted to have the act declared unconstitutional, in part because the act does not provide any funds for libraries to purchase, install or maintain the filtering software and therefore places the libraries in a difficult situation where part of their budget is being mandated by the federal government

Questions to Consider:

Questions to Consider Does federal legislature do any good when attempting to police the Internet? Is there any way to develop federal legislature to stop obscenity on the Internet that does not violate the first amendment? Should there be similar laws regarding materials that are violent in nature or may lead to violence (e.g., hate sites, sites that describe how to build bombs)? Is filtering software adequate to support federal legislature?

China and the Internet:

China and the Internet China has been slowly modernizing and increasing their technological capabilities for a long time, only academics in China had access to the Internet, now that is changing rapidly starting in 1998, the Chinese government has been putting together the Golden Shield Project also known as the Great Firewall of China the entire project should be completed by 2008 at a cost of about $800 million (US $) the goal is to censor materials that can be accessed by Internet uses from inside of China the shield is a combination of hardware, software and police monitoring data and communications

Censored Content:

Censored Content Websites belonging to outlawed or persecuted groups News sources that often cover topics that are taboo to the Chinese government police brutality, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, freedom of speech, democracy, Marxist sites this includes such sites as Voice of America, BBC News, Yahoo! Hong Kong and others Sites that contain obscenity, pornography and criminal activity although this has been relaxed somewhat since 2005 Sites related to the Taiwan government or media Sites dedicated to religious content Sites that provide the complete Chinese Buddhist canon Sites linked to the Dalai Lama and his International Tibet Independence Movement or teachings Sites with content mocking or insulting China or its government Websites deemed “subversive”

Censoring Mechanisms:

Censoring Mechanisms IP Blocking blocking content transmitted from specific IP addresses including Google, Yahoo, CNN and BBC DNS filtering and redirection given certain host names, the local DNS table does not respond with an address, or responds with a redirection address if you know the IP address, you might be able to get around this problem, but only if that IP address is not already one that is being blocked URL filtering scan the URL for keywords Packet filtering terminate packet transmission if the transmission contains controversial keywords

Concerns and Questions:

Concerns and Questions Opening up China to technology can provide an enormous source of profit for the US especially given that we have a huge trade imbalance with China thanks to the amount of outsourcing that takes place there do companies and corporations who might sell China technology have a moral obligation? if so, what should they do in the face of China’s poor record on human rights? Can opening China to the Internet help promote change to the Chinese government and people? Will the Golden Shield work? Or is such technology unfeasible today? How are the attitudes of the Chinese citizens changing now that they can access the Internet?

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