« »

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Griper Blade: No Light, White Heat -- The Media Shirks its Duty to Illuminate

Filament glows hotThere's a reason why incandescent bulbs are less efficient than compact fluorescents. We all know that energy can't be created or destroyed. So, when a bulb emits light, it's really just a sort of energy converter -- electrical energy is turned into light energy. But an incandescent bulb wastes more of that energy as heat. If you've ever tried to change a bulb that just blew, you know this. It's hot. If you could find some way to inhibit that bulb from converting energy into heat, that bulb would burn brighter.

I bring this up not as an environmental message, but as an expression of pure physics. When a device uses energy to produce another form of energy, some of the power is going to be lost. So the energy put into producing another type of energy is not equal to the energy that is the product. In the lightbulb, this means that the production of heat reduces the energy available for illumination.

This is a metaphor for our media environment. Energy is wasted in copious amounts. Even in our 24/7 news climate, no single news outlet is capable of supplying limitless amounts of information. The output is constrained and the energy it takes to create that output is, by necessity, limited. It's the job of the media to illuminate, but -- like the bulb -- a lot of that energy is wasted. The news media exists to cast light, but a lot of the energy that goes into it is wasted by generating heat...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

Search Archive:

Custom Search