A Geek's Guide to the Earth Hour Challenge

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World Wildlife Fund is promoting a hour of darkness - what's a geek to do?
The World Wildlife Fund wants you to power down your electronic life for one full hour this weekend: no lights, no TVs, no computers --- basically, nothing that actively uses electricity. Think you're up for the Earth Hour challenge?

Earth Hour: What It's All About

Earth Hour is scheduled for 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. in your local time zone this Saturday, March 28. The goal is send a message to governments everywhere that more should be done to combat climate change. Leaving your lights on, the WWF says, is a "vote for global warming." (Not that they're trying to guilt you into participating or anything...)

The WWF is hoping a billion people worldwide will make the switch. The results of the hour will be presented at a Global Climate Change Conference later this year.

How to Survive the Powerless Hour

So, a full hour with no electricity -- a daunting idea, isn't it? (If you really have doubt as to the level of your electronics addiction, take this digital astrology quiz to see just how dependent you are.)

Now, to be fair, the official Earth Hour site talks about spending the hour making a video, taking and uploading photos, live-blogging, or tweeting away on Twitter. And sure, even with the lights off, you could technically still bask in the glow of a battery-powered cell phone or laptop as you connect with virtual friends across the world.

But come on -- that's a questionable loophole if I've ever seen one. You did use electricity to charge the things, after all. Plus, there has to be a router connected somewhere that's giving you all that delicious Wi-Fi, right? Leaving devices on seems to be missing the spirit of the whole "cut the cord" concept. Hey, the makers of BlackBerry agree, so I can't be too far out on a limb here.

Anyway, as attached as we've all become to our inboxes, taking an hour on a Saturday night to be in the dark might be good for more than just the environment. Imagine it: no ringtones sounding, no text messages buzzing, no electronic interruptions whatsoever. I can certainly think of one thing you could do with the moonlit quiet time.

Just make sure you have protection. You don't want to be building a computer outside without some way to safely ground yourself.

Connect with JR Raphael on Twitter (@jr_raphael) or via his Web site, jrstart.com.

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