Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The magic of statistical mechanics

The software that likely went into this (unless it's a big pile of pseudo-science) is probably a sight to behold. From the NY Times:

The company employs what it calls a “package flow” software program, which among other hyper-efficient practices involving the packing and sorting of its cargo, maps out routes for every one of its drivers, drastically reducing the number of left-hand turns they make (taking into consideration, of course, those instances where not to make the left-hand turn would result in a ridiculously circuitous route).

Last year, according to Heather Robinson, a U.P.S. spokeswoman, the software helped the company shave 28.5 million miles off its delivery routes, which has resulted in savings of roughly three million gallons of gas and has reduced CO2 emissions by 31,000 metric tons. So what can Brown do for you? We can’t speak to how good or bad they are in the parcel-delivery world, but they won’t be clogging up the left-hand lane while they do their business.

That's what I'm talking about!

The act of going green comes in many different shapes and sizes (only one color, of course). It ranges from altering your life completely to eliminate/drastically lessen your impact on your surrounding environment all the way to doing something that benefits both yourself and the environment. At this stage in the game, people should at least be CONSIDERING their impact on energy, water and waste. For one, it is just the right thing to do (see John Locke and his ideas on Limits to Accumulation... I would argue that overuse [waste] falls under the same heading as spoilage do to over accumulation). For another, it could lead to savings and quality of life improvements you never thought about.

Gold star to UPS for finding a very interesting way to save money and use less gas!

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