Wednesday, December 5, 2012

flat screen monitors, or flesh eating zombies in disguise?

Hi Umbra,

Question for you: what's up with flat-screen TVs popping up all over the place? I'm not talking about home entertainment, but they seem to be popping up everywhere. Coffee shops were understandable (but still annoying), but I was at a small non-profit recently and they had a monitor used as a digital bulletin board. Also, the extremely cash-strapped public university from where I recently graduated had them all over the place as electronic billboards.

My questions:
-What's wrong with good old fashioned billboards? Don't tell me a box filled with cheap plastic and chemicals emitting whatever flatscreen emit and constantly sucking electricity is 'better for the environment' cause it's using less paper!

-And since I mentioned it, what's in these monitors? I can only image their components, not to mention the factories in China where they're made so cheaply (though I did hear about the growing assembly industry in Mexico).

-And energy suck? What's the electrical usage?

Can you figure out how places -especially non-profits and universities- can economically justify buying one (or more) of these, plugging it in and running it 24/7?

(If you want specifics, I went to the University of Washington, which I'm sure you know is desperate for money. Two years ago Governor Gregoire and president of UW announced draconian cuts, and it made me wonder what 'comforts' UW forego, like the dozen TVs that fill the cafeteria blaring garbage. I know it's a drop in the bucket, but I'm wondering what the true financial costs and carbon footprint of these things are.)

I know I sound like a grumpy curmudgeon, I know it veers on petty, I know I personally hate TVs and monitors and think they're distracting at the very least, but I do think it's a rising trend in consumerism, something that harks back to the main message of 'Story of Stuff'.

What do you think?



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