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!