Not satisfied with adding totally new gadgets to the enormous varieties of electronic things already available, companies are placing electronic versions of “old-fashioned” human powered games and tools on the already over-crowded shelves in your favorite merchant’s store. Kate Galbraith writes about Gadget Proliferation in her New York Times “Green Inc.” column.

…these [human-powered items] are far outnumbered by gadgets that have traditionally been hand-powered, but now have given in to the electronic age. These are great fun, but in terms of energy use, they are not particularly green.
I was reflecting on this last night while playing (and losing) several rounds of post-Thanksgiving electronic Boggle (sold only in Britain for about $23).
This is not the old-fashioned Boggle, with simple, hourglass timers. The game’s lights would blink periodically throughout the game, and flash madly when the time was up. Is this necessary?

She suggests that it certainly is not necessary. I heartedly agree especially when home electronics and battery-operated devices have become a major source of energy consumption. Galbraith adds:

According to a recent article in The Mercury News in San Jose, electronic devices (which include big-ticket items like televisions) now account for 15 to 17 percent of a household’s average electricity use in California.
The article notes that energy consumption by gadgets “is rising rapidly at a time when consumption by other appliances, such as refrigerators and air-conditioning units, has fallen markedly.”

There’s still hope, however. My several younger grandchildren do have electronic gadgets that didn’t exist when I was their age, but greatly enjoy beating me at old-fashioned Scrabble and all sorts of card games. I can’t imagine electronic UNO, but then the same grandchildren can’t imagine a world without television.

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