Let me introduce you to Blackle. Set up by Australian firm 'Heap Media', Blackle is the 'black Google'.
Now, this may be outdated colonial stereotyping, but when I hear that an Australian firm has set up the 'black' anything, I immediately tense up and reach for my copy of To kill a mockingbird (alright, John Grisham's A time to kill). But there's no need to worry (on that score).
Blackle is a search-engine site powered by Google Search. And it's black. Furthermore, I think it is a serious project - although I am prepared to be proved wrong.
The black Google is neither a fashion statement nor an aid for the clinically depressed and/or monumentally hungover. No, Blackle is black because it 'saves energy'.
Blackle came into being after self-styled 'green-computing evangelist' Mark Ontkush wrote a blog which suggested that when a computer screen is white, presenting an empty word page or the Google home page, perhaps, your computer consumes 74W. When the screen is black it consumes only 59W. Peter Snow would call that a '15W swing' (which sounds like a fun invention).
Extrapolating this theory, Ontkush reckons that if everyone switched from Google to Blackle, mother earth would save 750MW each year.
Frankly, I'm sceptical.
My GCSE results will attest to my shaky grasp on what I like to call 'science', but as I understand it, backlit LCD monitors (just the 75 percent or so of the world's active monitors then) light every pixel for every different flavour of screen content. So, like Wacko Jacko says, it don't matter if you're black or white.
You could perhaps save a minuscule amount of energy if you're a CRT monitor owner, and you moved from Google to Blackle. And if this is the case, you have my sympathies. (And just think of all the kinetic energy used by your groaning desk to support that massive boxy monitor. Or something.)
Forgive me for this shameless pitch at getting into the Guardian's Bad Science column, but isn't there an energy cost in hosting Google-powered search on a site that, er, isn't Google? Perhaps Blackle will use the ad-money it generates via Google to offset this...
There's a definite energy cost in all the bloggers who are going to witter on about this site. Mea culpa.
But I guess it's harmless. Energy neutral. And if people are at least thinking about saving energy when they compute, some good may come of Blackle. But this is faint praise indeed.
Personally I find that dumb science and even dumber applications of it make me cynical about climate change, and the ability of me, the little man, to head it off. It's the same problem I used to have with the CND - I'm broadly in sympathy with the aims of eco-warriors, but I don't want to be seen in public with the kind of people who think that a black website will change the world. Not least because I have the feeling that they might wear hemp cardigans.
For now, I'll stick to Google, public transport and using the recycle bin. (Steps back, and awaits the green-computing backlash.)