Novel-writing is very energy-efficient


#1

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#2

Still ... by the end of that novel the squirrel is going to be 600m up in the air, and probably very confused. So clearly it'd totally be worth it.


#3

I know the XKCD post is strictly about keyboard energy, but still, this is a poor estimate for how much energy writing a novel actually takes. Based on cursory googling, a human brain consumes something on the order of 10W-- vastly more power than you need to type with, and more than enough to power a MacBook Air for light tasks like word processing.

Obviously not all of that energy is used for thinking. According to... erm... io9.com, thinking accounts for 20-50 calories per day, or between 1 and 2.5W. If you're, say, Thomas Pynchon, let's say it takes 3 years to write a novel and it takes up 1/10 of your waking thoughts over that period. Call it 2W of power on the assumption that this is high-end thinking; 1/10 of 3 years is 3.2 megaseconds, so in total you've expended 6.3MJ of energy to write that novel. That's about the energy released by 1.3kg (46oz) of TNT.


#4

It should also be considered in terms of lost opportunity costs arising from the time that was used. In the time needed to write a novel, someone could build a small house.


#5

... or destroy the Aztec Empire. Forever.


#6

"With a lot of rewrites, you might expend several kilojoules—but you'd
need to rewrite every word 10 times to match the energy stored in a
single AA battery."

So what you're telling me is that my last two NaNoWriMo attempts could have at least filled four AA batteries, then. Cool.


#7

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