May 26, 2008

"This is a generation that is watching the world come undone."

Says the Oberlin professor. The diligent students unplug the refrigerator. And they set a 3-minute time limits on showers:
... Becky Bob-Waksberg, racked up the morning’s longest shower: Eight minutes. The house cuts Ms. Bob-Waksberg slack, Mr. Brown said, because of her thick, curly hair, which takes longer to shampoo.
The world is coming undone, but Ms. Becky Bob-Waksberg must maintain her luxuriant locks. You know, if you really cared — you unplugged the refrigerator! — you would shave it down to a crewcut... for the greater good. There's a 3-minute timer in the bathroom, to impose the rule on everyone else. There's also "a picture of former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina plastered to the ceiling."
That was Ms. Bob-Waksberg’s idea. No one wants to linger in the shower with someone staring down from the ceiling, she said.

“You could also look at it another way,” she said, “that John Edwards is encouraging me to take a shorter shower.”

Why Mr. Edwards? “He had the strongest global warming policies of any of the candidates,” Mr. Brown said.
Seems to me he has the most glossy, luxuriant hair. I think Ms. Bob-Waksberg is rubbing it in that you have to take a short shower and she doesn't.


Freeman Hunt said...

I appreciate them taking three minute showers. That means that I can increase mine from fifteen minutes to twenty-five or so. How thoughtful.

Kev said...

They could always shower submarine style -- 5 seconds to wet down, soap up completely, 5 seconds to rinse.

After all these years, still nice to know college attracts all kinds of idiot posers.

Balfegor said...

Pikers. If they really want to save water, then they should just turn the water off when lathering up. Just fill a bucket with water, scrub yourself over, shampoo your hair and all that, and then run the shower briefly, for ten or twenty seconds, to get the suds out. Maybe for a minute, if you've got long, curly hair or something. Then dry off. How hard can that be?

As a bonus, when you're doing it that way, you don't have the same need to make sure the water temperature is just right. This is what I do when the water heater isn't working.

knoxwhirled said...

I bet they stink.

reader_iam said...

What do they barbecue with?


Becky Bob Waksberg has a very unfortunate name, given how her actions vs. ideas leave her so open to parody.

And she should cut her hair--unless she agrees to wash it only once or twice a week, which is what people with long hair used to be able to do and certainly could again. Saves on conditioner, too, and all the energy costs associated with its manufacturing, and its packaging, and the manufacture of its packaging. Etc.

AJ Lynch said...

Just think, if you can spare an extra $160,000 or so, you could send your kid to Oberlin too.

reader_iam said...

You know, if they took showers together--step in and get wet, then step out and soap while someone else jumps in and gets wet, and so on and so on and so on--they could also produce some savings.


To be clear, I don't have a problem with a lot of the referenced conservation measures. We engage in a number of them ourselves. (One small example: we're constantly reminding our son not to leave the water running while he's brushing his teeth, or soaping his hands and face.) It's the tone that grates, and the note of coercion. And the thing about "cutting slack" when it suits, and why.

Tibore said...

In the 70's: Hare Krishna's in the airports.

In the 2000's: See above.

The cult may change, but the blind devotion remains the same.

rhhardin said...

Oberlin was a really nice place when I was there. Friendly radicals lived at CO-OP and had decent folk songs. People learned regular stuff, standards were high, the place was hard to get into, and easy to flunk out of.

Stravinsky at Oberlin in 1963, pictures by me.

Not many alumni donations from my class these days.

Just looking at the yearbook for the first time in decades. You won't find a comparable school anywhere today, let alone at Oberlin.

LarsPorsena said...

This stuff is eerily like the hero tractor drivers and Stakhovinite miners in 1930’a Agitprop.

bearbee said...

re: barbecue, they need to evaluate the amount of energy that goes into producing one pound of beef

Manufacture of fertilizer to grow crops, water produced to irrigate grains, harvested by tractor, shipped to storage, transported to feed cattle, trucked to market to bring cold-stored to superrmarket, purchased and driven home to barbecue, cardiac arrest, ambulance to hospital, by-pass surgery, medical waste disposal.

Time to go vegan and grow their own produce.

Ralph said...

As last year's drought was ending, my city imposed water restrictions, including serving water in restaurants only on request. Bet that saved a small lake.

When my brother was at Chapel Hill in the 70's, they kept the hot water off in dorms the first few weeks of school because the reservoir was low. Back then they all had long hair.

dbp said...

"While previous generations focused on recycling and cleaning up rivers, these students want to combat global warming by figuring out ways to reduce carbon emissions in their own lives, starting with their own colleges."

What do you bet not one of them is majoring in nuclear physics, so that they can work in carbon-free reactors?

Randy said...

I'm not so sure that I buy that line, but I do know that many who post comments here are vets and, as it is Memorial Day, this looks like as good a place as any to thank the living veterans, those serving, and their comrades who lost their lives in service to our nation, for a difficult job well done generation after generation after generation.

HeatherRadish said...

And people seem offended when I point out "global warming" is just a hobby for rich people with no real problems. Sheesh.

PatCA said...

SAd, sad, sad.

Why John Edwards' picture in the shower? He has the strongest enviro policy?


I guess if they give up their showers, this will offset his ginormous house.

David said...

LarsPorsena..."eerily like the hero tractor drivers and Stakhovinite miners in 1930’a Agitprop"...worse. The tractor drivers and miners were all about production; these "progressives" are about doing consumption in the way that maximizes their social status.

Kev said...

Another Kev said:

After all these years, still nice to know college attracts all kinds of idiot posers.

Just wanted to make sure nobody thought that was me (the jazz musician) saying the above. As someone who teaches college, I'd never do a blanket slam of students like that.

Trooper York said...

Kev, it's the professors who are the "idiot posers."

Sames as it ever was......

kimsch said...

Randy @ 6:11 - Thank you and You're Welcome.

Kev said...

Just wanted to make sure nobody thought that was me (the jazz musician) saying the above.

Awwpp! That was me. Sorry, man, it's a common nickname. And I wasn't trying to slam all college students, just the ones mentioned in the article.

Kev said...

(the original Kev)

Another Kev said:
Awwpp! That was me. Sorry, man, it's a common nickname.

Yeah, it's been a while since you and I commented on the same post (or is there yet a third Kev involved?). In the future, if that happens, I'll bust out the parenthetical "original Kev" to avoid confusion.

Trooper said:
Kev, it's the professors who are the "idiot posers."

I don't think I resemble that remark... ;-)

Fatmouse said...

What's the next step for the Climate Cult? Hair shirts? Self-flagellation while chanting Gaia's name?

Hell, how long until the first Save-The-Earth mass suicide?

Balfegor said...

Self-flagellation while chanting Gaia's name?

pia gaia domina, dona eis requiem

Iapetus said...

A new refrigerator in the US typically consumes 300 W of power each hour, 24/7, but this can be as low as 100 W if you are very careful not to open the door too often and for too long at any one time. In the Oberlin house, the refrigerator was shared by a group of a half-dozen or so students. On the other hand, each student probably owned his own computer, which he most likely operated 4 hours a day. A typical desktop computer with a 20+ inch display typically consumes about 300 W of electricity. Instead of turning their refrigerator off, it looks to me as if the students could have saved more electricity---perhaps as much as 50% more--- by shutting their computers off and going back to pencil and paper. I'm now waiting for the announcement from Oberlin that the students plan to bring back the wringer washer and backyard clothes line.

SteveR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SteveR said...

We only had to worry about nuclear war, race riots and silly stuff like that. This is real important stuff.

Glenn Howes said...

I'd like to know where the 300W for a desktop computer comes from. I have an old 2.3 GHz P4 (widely known as a power hog) here which draws 100 W idling, with a 20" LCD which I've measured via Kill-A-Watt as drawing 40W. There is no way today's average desktop is drawing more than twice this, especially with the introduction of energy sipping Core 2 Duos to the desktop market. Especially if the computer is properly configured to turn off its display, spin down its hard drives, and sleep after a reasonable idle period.

300W average draw would be more appropriate for a decent gaming rig (with obligatory 1000W power supply), not for a representative desktop computer.

reader_iam said...

I remember wringer washers! That was one of my early chores, to pull the clothes through while my mother cranked, down in the basement of our small-town Illinois home. I remember being concerned that they actually considered putting it on the moving truck in 1971, when we moved East to Delaware. They didn't. But they also didn't buy a "modern" washing machine until a couple of years later. And they didn't buy a dryer until the end of my junior year in high school (1978), at which time we still weren't allowed to use it except during the dead of winter and for certain things (and mostly when they were barely damp). By the time they got with the swing of things, I was out of the house for college.

I figured out earlier today in response to an Amba post (though I never ended up posting a comment), that of my 47 years, I've spent maybe, barely, 12 of them in a dwelling with a dryer--and that's counting that time at the end of high school. Yeah, I could up give a dryer (though, truly, I'd dislike that more than giving up other appliances of convenience, like a dishwasher, which I've also spent relatively few years having at my disposal).

Not so sure I'd wanna go back to a wringer washer, though. At least I'd know what it is and how to use it. I suspect that, like riding a bicycle, you never really forget how it's done.

Donna B. said...

I remember how to use the wringer washers, as well as scrubboards and wringing out by hand. Hanging up sheets was such fun. Not to mention unmentionables.

I'd give up my dishwasher and probably not miss it much, but I really, really, really like my washer, dryer,...and car.

In fact, I'd go back to outhouses before giving up those three things.

reader_iam said...

Of course it goes without saying--doesn't it?--that a world without modern (mid-20th century plus) fabrics and dryers, and certainly in one with wringer washers and line-drying--both inside and out but especially when inside--ironing was a much more omnipresent, and in some situations more imperative, fact of life. Man, the effort-per-fabric-inch was greater then!

(Heh. I remember my grandmother marveling at how fortunate my mother was that she could put washed shirts in the refrigerator, and better yet the freezer, so they wouldn't wrinkle wet so quick, and and also so they'd iron more easily. Hell, I remember ironing very cold shirts. LOL.)

Iapetus said...

To: G. Howes @11:07 pm: I have a Mac Pro and the specs come from the Apple Support page. I have a pair of 23" HD Cinema displays, each of which draws 90W according to Apple. Also according to Apple, a simply configured Mac Pro draws 171W when idle, which would bring the total thus far up to 351W if my Mac Pro had only a single hard drive and an entry level video card. I have 4 internal hard drives plus two 2TB network attached external hard drives. When I am working, I often see all 4 CPU cores working hard and it's not uncommon for the activity monitor to be pegged at 100% CPU usage for one of them. This has nothing to do with gaming since I don't have any games. This is all image processing and numerical modeling. What this means is that I typically am using more than 350 W (never mind that I'm ignoring the audio speakers and advanced video card in my computer that will be drawing power too). People hang a lot of stuff on their machines which draws power, perhaps not as much as I use, but 300W is not an unreasonable number. It's equivalent to 3 or 4 light bulbs, which is no big deal, even at 24 cents a kWH. My point was that if the students at Oberlin want to do it right, then they need to do a careful audit of their energy usage. For instance, where do they wash their clothes? At a laundromat? Are they adding this into their personal energy budgets or are they merely "cost shifting" because THAT energy usage is off the books?

MarkW said...

I have an old 2.3 GHz P4 (widely known as a power hog) here which draws 100 W idling, with a 20" LCD which I've measured via Kill-A-Watt as drawing 40W.

Not to mention that about as many college students have desktop computers as rotary dial telephones. It's pretty much laptops for everybody. And laptops use very little power

Pogo said...

The John Edwards poster is creepy on so many levels, but mostly by having former Sen. Shiny Pony's face staring at you like some cheesy telescreen exhorting love for the ecopuritan Big Brother.

I don't know about you, but, well, ick. maybe that's why the showers are so brief. Help, he's staring at me again! I would have post traumatic shower disorder in no time.

MadisonMan said...

I'm sure the school administrators encourage this program because it saves the University money -- they don't have to heat so much water, or send so much power to the dorms. Win win!

When the new gym was built here back in the 80s, the showers had timers -- you had to push buttons to get water to run. The buttons are still there, but they've long since been disconnected because of universal loathing.

I wonder if the Oberliners are agitating for Nuclear power?

bearbee said...

I'm reading a book about the Great Depression and an interesting reference to Tugwell and, modeling the Soviets, his concept of planned communities through the Resettlement Administration under Roosevelt.

Students at Oberlin are coming up with their own version. I wait for 'greening' to become official policy.

I won't be surprised to hear of some congressperson type begin to float some such ideas, more comprehensive and structured.

What do you bet not one of them is majoring in nuclear physics, so that they can work in carbon-free reactors?

Probably see more investment bankers and lawyers.

knoxwhirled said...

put washed shirts in the refrigerator, and better yet the freezer, so they wouldn't wrinkle wet so quick


Dudley Do-right said...

Hey! Lay off the Hero Tractor Drivers. Since retiring that's become my occupation. Will be out there this afternoon behind a 14 liter Cummins putting our vanishing petroleum resources to productive use. With about 12 gallons of diesel going up the stack each hour, soccer Moms & SUVs everywhere should be green with envy.

Well, the cows gotta eat, y'know. The crunchy granola types need their yogurt and it don't come from algae. I'll be reflecting kindly on those 'conservative' Oberlin students while at the helm of the trusty Steiger. I'm sure the cows will too.
Hero Tractor Driver (aka Dudley Do-Right)

LetMeSpellItOutForYou said...

“You could also look at it another way,” she said, “that even in the privacy of your shower, an Orwellian authority figure can glower at you."

paul a'barge said...

Why Mr. Edwards? “He had the strongest global warming policies of any of the candidates,” Mr. Brown said

Too funny. Edwards, a man without a non-hypocritical bone in his body who lives in a huge mansion is the hero for a bunch of stinky enviro whackos.

You just can't make up these folks.

Glenn Howes said...

Well, I guess it comes down to the reality of typical. The typical $600 desktop does not have 4 hard drives, dual $200 PCIe GPUs, or quad cores. Nor does the typical 20" LCD draw 90 W when its backlight is set to not sear one's eyeballs. Nor does even your tricked out Mac Pro average 350W unless you are running a folding at home screen saver instead of letting the box sleep.

My 5 year old Dell P4 (which by the way has 4 hard drives, 3 of which are set to go to sleep after half an hour) maxes out at around 140W when decoding 1080i MPEG2s, and another 40 W for the monitor. Which it does for all of 6 hours a week, maybe. This is all actual measurement, not a manufacturer's worst case scenario. And I hate that this box is such an energy hog when idling, and that Linux doesn't make it easier/possible to put it into some sort of low power, network traffic listening, awake on schedule only mode.

If these Oberlinites want to help the environment they should work on improving Linux's power management and making it more easily accessible. Now that's an area where a few months spent can make a huge difference given the huge amount of energy wasted in server farms around the globe. Not doing feel good wastes of time like timing your shower.

I do agree that these people should get their hands on a Kill-A-Watt and audit their own energy usage. The dozens of gadgets in one's house using a bucks worth of energy each every month add up.

Fat Man said...

The idea of warm beer and no ice cream will not cut it among the college students I know.

Revenant said...

So the college girl hung a picture of a good-looking guy in the shower. And now she spends a lot of time in there "washing her hair".

I have a much more interesting theory on what she's doing, but this is a family blog.