Pulse of the Nation

Great to see so many people posting now to the blog! I just wanted to quickly let people know about an interesting website game that has been set up around the election. I got an invite to go and register today through SmileCity (which I normally ignore but occasionally something comes through I will go check out). Here is an explanation of how the game works from their website:

Playing Pulse of the Nation is Easy. Each Round you’ll do two things:

  • Vote in our fortnightly Virtual Election
  • Predict the outcome of the Virtual Election for each party

To predict the outcome of the poll, enter the percentage of the Virtual Vote you think each party will win in the box beside their name. Each adjustment will be represented graphically in a box next to your prediction. To get your started, we’ll give you a few clues – like who won the party vote in the last election and what you picked last Round. Once you’ve made your picks for each Round, hit Submit.

We’ll award you one game point for each percentage point of the vote you correctly predict – but we’ll penalise you one game point for each percentage point you get wrong. If you predict a party’s percentage support exactly, you’ll get that number of game points.

Remember you’ll need to get your predictions recorded by 12 NOON Wednesday each fortnight (NZ time). There is an 8Gb iPod Touch prize for the winner of each round of voting.

You can create your own mates list, you can track exactly how they’re doing and measure your own success against them. After the close off time for each Round you will be able to see your Mate’s Picks and Points – but never their Virtual Vote.

At the last vote round, the Green Party gathered 4.6% of the party vote out of the 7200 people registered so far. I think we can get that a lot higher!

Green Cabs

I work for a company where people are traveling around the country and often need to take cabs. Recently we have been emailed from head office to suggest that we start using Green Cabs when in the main centres. I went and had a look through their website and this looks to be a pretty good option! The cars are all Pirus hybrids and trips are not only more environmentally friendly but they often cost less as well (according to people from work who have already traveled in their cars). They also offset carbon emissions through a tree planting initiative called ‘Trees for the Future’ (see video below) which has been responsible for planting 50 million trees worldwide while also helping people in third world countries to improve their livelihoods. It all seems to be good idea to me. I think I will check them out next time I need a cab!

A new design for a new blog

I am writing the very first post on this new blog that has been set up to give a voice to people that want to write about and discuss green issues. This is a place for everyday people to have their say and think about what ‘being green’ means for them in their own lives.

Getting this blog set up has already triggered off a question in my mind. When choosing the design for our online spaces, should we be trying to pick ‘dark’ themes so as to save power when sitting at our computer screens? Does that actually make any real impact at all?

There are websites out there that claim to be saving power and the environment by ‘going dark’. There are two search alternatives that do this: Blackle and Doogle.

On the Doogle website it explains the idea behind the dark screen it uses by saying, “You can see that a white screen needs 74 Watts while a black screen needs 59Watts. That means that every time you display a black page you “save” roughly 15 Watts.”

However, there are many other articles and blog entries such as this one from the GreenBang Blog that point out that the energy savings are minuscule when using dark screens (especially using LCD screens) and that people may cancel out any benefits by spending longer trying to read the results as white writing on a dark background is more difficult to read. Some I read also are rather cynical about the real purpose of these sites – is it to help save the environment or a clever way to try and get market share and therefore generate income?

I think that even if the jury is out on whether lighter or darker screen options are the best for the environment, any raising of awareness on the need to save power through individual choices and actions can only be good for the cause in general. What do you think? Should this blog ‘go dark’?

Author: Suzie Vesper