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Journal of nicholas (3034)

Tuesday December 08, 2009
08:47 AM

The carbon footprint of code

[ #39989 ]

At lpw2009 miyagawa gave a(n award winning) talk about Plack.

During it, he commented "while I was on the plane from San Francisco to Japan I hacked on ...", and then "while I was on the plane here I hacked on ...", and I wondered what is the carbon footprint of miyagawa's modules?

This seemed rather an unfair question to ask in public, but when I told it to him later in the pub* he laughed. However the full question is slightly longer:

What is the carbon cost of the modules' creation? What is the carbon saving from reduced dev time and reduced server load from using the modules? When is the cross over point?

And, I guess, a more general abstract question - is jetting off to all these conferences we like to go to cost effective? Do we save more from what we learn than we pay to get there?

* Thanks to Shadowcat, antibodyMX and Venda for sponsoring the food and beer. I hope they decide to do it again next year

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  • Unless you can demonstrate that the carbon footprint is required to write the module, it could always be written at home :)

    • While I am a keen advocate of reducing CO2 pollution, isn't it also true that when you are on a train, aeroplane or ship there isn't much else to do. However, I sincerely hope that people don't take trips just to write code... ;-)

      I'm sure that using the appropriate tool can in the long run reduce CO2 emissions, as you need less extra power to drive the extra hardware required to run the wrong infrastructure.

      --
      -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
  • Do we save more from what we learn than we pay to get there?

    I never go to conferences for learning anything. They are good for only two things: connections and serendipity.

    I don’t know how you quantify connections and serendipity.

    And the answer won’t change the fact it is awfully lonely out here.