Need an idea for a newspaper or magazine article? Cookbook recipe #801:

  1. Look around you and pick a commonplace, everyday activity — brushing one's teeth, stepping on the brake of a car, throwing a piece of junk mail into the wastebasket, unlocking the front door, flipping a light switch, looking up a factoid on the Internet, biting a fingernail ... — whatever comes to mind, but the more widespread and frequently performed, the better;
  2. Multiply the number of people in the country (or on the planet) times how often the chosen activity is done times some physical parameter associated with that activity — ergs of energy, milliliters of water, cubic centimeters of landfill occupied, seconds of time spent, micrograms of metal eroded, bits of entropy generated ... — the smaller the unit, the better; and then
  3. Wax wroth over the woeful waste of world resources as, every day, people insist on doing X, and thus cause Y units of irreplacable Z to be destroyed.

Be sure, however, not to look too closely at the benefits of the activity you're decrying — and never compute the costs of not doing it. That would weaken your case!

(cf. CelebrityHistory (8 May 1999), BasementWorries (15 Jun 2002), ThatWhichIsNotSeen (5 Sep 2002), ...)

TopicSociety - TopicWriting - 2007-05-10

(correlates: RunningVersusTraining, SocialWealth, ExpertPlayer, ...)