New Year’s Eve Ball “Green” Claims Disingenuous

Last night the new Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball, commemorating the 100th dropping of the Ball, successfully helped ring in 2008. The new Ball is brilliant, literally: It sports 9,576 LEDs in place of the 600 incandescent and halogen bulbs of the previous Ball. But the marketing claims about its “greenness” are nothing short of ridiculous.

According to a press release describing the new ball: "...the entire Times Square Ball will be lit with approximately the same amount of electricity as it takes to power ten toasters or a single oven/range." Talk about a meaningless comparison! And an extremely odd choice, given that a toaster, which takes useful work and turns it into heat, is a perfect inverse Carnot Cycle -- not exactly a poster child for the green movement! When I was a kid, my family rang in New Year's in an extremely environmentally friendly way: We'd bring out the pots and pans and bang them together at midnight. Decidedly low tech, I know, but I have extremely fond memories of the ensuing racket!

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