If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Daily Mail)   A 14-year-old student who is possibly smarter than 99% of us has figured out a way to save the U.S. government $400 million a year, just by switching the font they use to print out documents   (dailymail.co.uk) divider line 54
    More: Interesting, U.S. government, GPO, alumni  
•       •       •

18390 clicks; posted to Main » on 29 Mar 2014 at 12:01 AM (29 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

2014-03-29 12:39:23 AM  
6 votes:
Pretty sure I've seen this before, let's see...
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125639616
Story is from 2010.  So the kid browses the internet, finds a story that his teachers haven't read, finds another font that does the same thing and now he's a genius wizkid!
2014-03-28 08:47:24 PM  
6 votes:
Also, the US Government Printing Office's budget is only about $130 million, so how are they going to save $400 million?
2014-03-29 12:03:02 AM  
5 votes:

Ambivalence: Abzzstain: Because the government only uses inkjet printers and buys single cartridges at retail prices. Surely no one in the government has ever heard of bulk purchasing. Or laser printers.

Laser printers use toner.  It's the "ink" equivalent and it aint cheap.


Per page it's a HELL of a lot cheaper than inkjet.
2014-03-29 12:52:33 AM  
4 votes:

Ambivalence: Abzzstain: Because the government only uses inkjet printers and buys single cartridges at retail prices. Surely no one in the government has ever heard of bulk purchasing. Or laser printers.

Laser printers use toner.  It's the "ink" equivalent and it aint cheap.


It is in bulk. When you talk large scale units you can usually print pages are around $0.02/page or so. You just don't use that much toner per page. When you get the 'lil laserjet that sits on your desk, they overcharge you because they want to make up the cost on consumables. However the big units keep consumable prices down because they want you to buy their stuff.

So I just can't see how this kid's idea would work. Changing a font isn't going to save that much toner, it won't really reduce how much is fused to the paper, and that isn't the only way toner is used (just having the components moving uses a bit of toner). Any savings in changing a font would be totally outclassed by simply printing a bit less.

My bet is this kid looked at the fonts, checked the price of the ink for his Lexmark printer which costs too much, threw some math at it based on guesses, and came up with a completely BS number.

Here's a tip to news organizations: When you hear of some kid with an amazing solution to a problem that nobody has ever managed to think of before... it basically never is. Invariably the kid ignored something, forgot something, simplified something, or what have you and thus their results are wrong. Any one remember  Aidan Dwyer? No? But why not? He was a child genius who revolutionized solar panels by using the Fibonacci Sequence. I mean all solar panels must be designed that way now! Ummm, no. Turns out the kid didn't know basic electrical engineering, and measured voltage and thought that represented power (power is voltage*amperage). No surprise, having solar panels pointing at all angles is not as efficient as having them use motors to track the sun, which is precisely what the highest efficiency ones we have do.
2014-03-28 09:47:04 PM  
4 votes:
Because the government only uses inkjet printers and buys single cartridges at retail prices. Surely no one in the government has ever heard of bulk purchasing. Or laser printers.
2014-03-28 09:03:36 PM  
4 votes:
Brilliant.
This kid has no future in government.
2014-03-29 12:46:00 AM  
3 votes:

StrangeQ: Pretty sure I've seen this before, let's see...
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125639616
Story is from 2010.  So the kid browses the internet, finds a story that his teachers haven't read, finds another font that does the same thing and now he's a genius wizkid!


Even older: http://lifehacker.com/5108188/ecofont-saves-your-ink/all
2014-03-29 12:07:56 AM  
3 votes:
...because making government documents harder to read benefits us all!
2014-03-28 08:45:01 PM  
3 votes:
Yes. So simple. Also working under the presumption that the government is a single, hyper-efficient entity that can change things like that on a whim.
2014-03-28 08:39:55 PM  
3 votes:
It's been proven that simple declarative sentences constructed of well chosen words and good grammar can use far fewer words. So put the $400M into decent language skills for kids.
2014-03-29 05:52:38 AM  
2 votes:
This is a good science fair project-- kid had an idea, wondered if there was actually anything to it, came up with a way to quantify/falsify it, and performed the test.  That's exactly what the science fair is supposed to teach you, so... well done getting the lesson, have an A.

That said, the US government (and I assume others) have in fact looked into this and tend to use other fonts because of  readability, even in the scaled-up example in TFA Garamond was already having issues with the letters thinning out and becoming indistinct at the edges, something that can mess up words entirely at smaller font sizes.  I mean, legibility that low in one-inch letters is  not a good sign if you're going to print the manuals for how to handle the nuclear arsenal and so on in it.

Additionally, the government typically uses either full-scale or office-scale printing operations, so the price of Ink doesn't actually apply-- at the most expensive, they're using toner-based systems which are massively more efficient.  Ink jet printing isn't used by any group with more than 5 or 10 people, private or public.  This is a non-problem to begin with.

// Again, not being down on the kid here, this is a good science-fair project.  I'm just incredibly unamused that the news-media retards have managed to dramatically misinterpret the science of a goddamned  grade-school science project.
2014-03-29 01:47:07 AM  
2 votes:
This is basically a "one weird trick discovered by a mom that government printers hate!" story gussied up to be "legitimate" journalism. Everyone involved in hyping this nonsense should be ashamed of themselves.
2014-03-29 01:35:24 AM  
2 votes:
This is all over Facebook. I don't farkin' buy it, sorry.

* The US government is a big-ass entity. I'd be surprised if they used one font for everything.
* How many documents does the government actually print vs. how many they read/transmit electronically?
* Simple answers (like switching fonts) to complex problems (like the US budget) are almost never right
* Assuming this change was made, how much time/money/effort would it require, and would we still save money once that was figured in?

Is there anything more irritating than (supposed) genius kids that know better than all their adults? Good news, kid: actual geniuses that transform the world are real. Bad news, kid: they're exceedingly rare. It was an interesting science project, but let's not get carried away.
2014-03-29 12:12:14 AM  
2 votes:
I wonder what the savings would be if we just switched to 11.5 font as the default.
2014-03-29 12:08:14 AM  
2 votes:
Eh, it's play money anyway. Fark experts explained to me last week why it was a wise investment for San Fran to build a temporary bike trail by a bridge for 9.8 million.
2014-03-29 12:06:05 AM  
2 votes:
img.fark.net
2014-03-29 12:03:43 AM  
2 votes:
I fully support this proposal, so long as all Congressional records are printed in Comic Sans.
2014-03-28 11:00:18 PM  
2 votes:
HAHA! I'M WASTING YOUR INK!
2014-03-28 10:53:19 PM  
2 votes:

itcamefromschenectady: It's been proven that you don't actually need vowels to understand English, so why not ban them from government publications? That will save a lot of ink.


So, you're suggesting a vowel resection?
2014-03-28 10:43:39 PM  
2 votes:

Abzzstain: Because the government only uses inkjet printers and buys single cartridges at retail prices. Surely no one in the government has ever heard of bulk purchasing. Or laser printers.


Laser printers use toner.  It's the "ink" equivalent and it aint cheap.
2014-03-29 02:37:59 PM  
1 votes:

Saturn5: Wow, people are protective of their government font.  Fixing Global Warming - we can do that, but changing fonts is hard.


Actually, changing fonts IS hard.

Sure, it's no problem for a basic text document.  But when you're dealing with forms, you can't just change the font and have it format correctly.

So if you change the font, you've got to redesign all those forms, and the government has a lot of forms.  So a font change means that you're going to have to pay a designer to redo all of those so that it looks good.  I'm going to make a guess that if you were to redesign all the government forms so that you could go to a new font, you're going to spend many, years of ink savings on the redesign if you're using expensive inkjet ink.  You'd probably be talking decades of savings to recoup if you're talking about toner.  And if it's bulk offset printing ink?  Probably centuries.
2014-03-29 12:27:23 PM  
1 votes:

Barfmaker: Now there's a guy who is never going to get laid in his entire life.


No, that's not necessarily true...but he'll only get skinny twinks.
2014-03-29 10:52:49 AM  
1 votes:

zzzzt: If the gov is spending $467,000,000 on toner, then it must be printing about 260,000,000,000 sheets per year.  That's more than 800 sheets for every man, woman and child alive in the US today.  Does that sound right to you?


Yes. Yes it does.
2014-03-29 10:09:10 AM  
1 votes:
when half of the pages in your documents look like this:
www.pjvoice.com
font doesn't matter.
2014-03-29 09:05:22 AM  
1 votes:
The government would spend twice that much on a lame feasibility study, and then reject the idea because a senator owns a bunch of stock in a printer ink company.
2014-03-29 09:00:28 AM  
1 votes:

Barfmaker: Now there's a guy who is never going to get laid in his entire life.


Because women hate smart guys.
2014-03-29 07:36:05 AM  
1 votes:
Wow, teenage kid does a Google search on old news, adds bad math, gets National Media attention!

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125639616
2014-03-29 05:19:25 AM  
1 votes:

Thanks, Obama.

2014-03-29 05:10:41 AM  
1 votes:

itcamefromschenectady: Also, the US Government Printing Office's budget is only about $130 million, so how are they going to save $400 million?


Now I know the government is terribly inefficient, by I believe that this figure was based on all the printers the government uses, not just the ones in the Printing Office.  I mean I assume that State, Defense, Interior, ext. all have their own ink jet printers on their computers, and don't have to go running to the Printing Office every time they want to print off an office report.

Of course, the study probably also assumes that the only thing being printed is text, which is probably also not true.  Even though, if it only saves a couple hundred million across the board, and keeps a few thousand fewer ink cartridges out of the landfills every year, maybe it is still worth doing.  Of course being the government, they will probably spend at least twice that much writing the new regulation.
2014-03-29 04:13:30 AM  
1 votes:
I think this sounds like a great idea.
2014-03-29 03:47:30 AM  
1 votes:

sycraft: My bet is this kid looked at the fonts, checked the price of the ink for his Lexmark printer which costs too much, threw some math at it based on guesses, and came up with a completely BS number.


He looked at total expenditure on printing costs. The question is whether and how he calculated how much of that printing costs is costs of ink/toner, but the article doesn't explain. But if he calculated that garamond uses, say 20% less ink than more common fonts, all he has to do is calculate/estimate what the total expenditure of the government is on ink/toner, both in office setting, government printing services and outsourced printing services. You come to x-amount and in theory you should then be able to cut 20% of x-amount by changing fonts. That's some pretty serious research and calculating work for ahigh school project if he did it correctly. Seeing what the government produces in paperwork, publications etc. $400 million doesn't sound strange.

There is nothing wrong with approach, the question is of course whether he calculated/estimated the x-amount in the right way.

And of course the way government works it will never be implemented in practice, and an important aspect of government publications is that it should be readable for everyone, so the fonts have to be clear and large enough.
2014-03-29 01:51:10 AM  
1 votes:
FTFA: A 14-year-old student from Pennsylvania could help the government save nearly $400 million a year thanks to his ingenious science fair project

Or, in other words, the Daily Fail blows out of proportion some barely-teenager's science project that shows what anyone with eyes and a brain, almost certainly including various governments, already knows:  thinner fonts use less ink.  It could save governments money, but won't ever happen because such decisions are undoubtedly made on a number of factors in addition to cost, such as how easy thinner/thicker letters are to read.
2014-03-29 01:40:23 AM  
1 votes:

bigstoopidbruce: WHAT?  SAVING MONEY FROM GUBMINT SPENDING?  Do you hate the black and the poor?  A pox upon you!


This is what Republicans actually believe.
2014-03-29 01:35:08 AM  
1 votes:
If "printing fewer documents" hasn't occurred to him, he's not that smart.
2014-03-29 01:27:50 AM  
1 votes:
Well, why wouldn't someone just come along and recommend a smaller thinner font next, maybe six point?

img.fark.net
2014-03-29 01:17:00 AM  
1 votes:

Intrepid00: Too bad most print jobs are done on printers that are charged per page instead of paying for the ink. I'm even doing this at home now with HP instant ink.


^^^^This^^^^

All you'd do is save the printer money. The government will still pay the same per-page cost.
2014-03-29 01:05:06 AM  
1 votes:

hchaos: Wow, that's, like, 0.01% of the federal budget! Good job! That will pay for 2 F-35s!


He's 14 years old and looked into this.  I'll give him a ton of credit for that.

I have a friend from business school who worked the United-Continental merger for a big 3 consulting firm.  One of his teams' accomplishments on the project was weighing silverware and figuring out that using plastic silverware in first class would save the company $2mm in fuel.  That more than paid for the consulting fees for the entire team.  And this high school science project trumped their accomplishments by magnitudes.
2014-03-29 12:50:25 AM  
1 votes:
The printer ink cartel is far too evil, far too entrenched to let this happen. Be very afraid.

I have to run now..
2014-03-29 12:44:31 AM  
1 votes:
Search "save money with smaller font" to see how many dozens of people and environmental organizations have been grabbing headlines with this suggestion since 2010.  And the amount of savings seems to get bigger every time.
2014-03-29 12:39:29 AM  
1 votes:

thurstonxhowell: Ambivalence: Abzzstain: Because the government only uses inkjet printers and buys single cartridges at retail prices. Surely no one in the government has ever heard of bulk purchasing. Or laser printers.

Laser printers use toner.  It's the "ink" equivalent and it aint cheap.

If by "ain't cheap" you mean "is practically free", then you're right. If you print a lot, buy a laser printer. TCO is much, much lower for anyone who prints often.


and if you don't print a lot you avoid inkjet nozzles drying out by having a laser printer
2014-03-29 12:30:40 AM  
1 votes:
I DNRTFA, but I have a strong opinion anyway and now I have to take shiat!
2014-03-29 12:30:29 AM  
1 votes:

itcamefromschenectady: It's been proven that you don't actually need vowels to understand English, so why not ban them from government publications? That will save a lot of ink.


President bm then?
2014-03-29 12:24:41 AM  
1 votes:
I wonder if he has any ideas for the Gov to save money on redacting?
2014-03-29 12:24:34 AM  
1 votes:
Too bad most print jobs are done on printers that are charged per page instead of paying for the ink. I'm even doing this at home now with HP instant ink.
2014-03-29 12:24:33 AM  
1 votes:
Sometimes switching fonts costs more.  A LOT more.
 churchrelevance.com
2014-03-29 12:23:14 AM  
1 votes:

Loucifer: This is just the type of thinking we need.


This story underlines the type of bold thinking we need to strike through unjustified government waste.
2014-03-29 12:22:49 AM  
1 votes:

Fano: Eh, it's play money anyway. Fark experts explained to me last week why it was a wise investment for San Fran to build a temporary bike trail by a bridge for 9.8 million.


And you angrily ignored every single one, and are still pissed off about a bridge.  Godspeed.
2014-03-29 12:13:32 AM  
1 votes:
Reminds me of ecofont.
2014-03-29 12:12:27 AM  
1 votes:
This is just the type of thinking we need.
2014-03-29 12:09:08 AM  
1 votes:
Of course, they'll spend 100 million licensing it from adobe..
2014-03-29 12:07:09 AM  
1 votes:
Not a new idea. Also, things stay as they are, unless forced to change.
2014-03-29 12:05:40 AM  
1 votes:
Well  thats $400 mill going into someone's back pocket for sure..
2014-03-28 11:45:04 PM  
1 votes:

Abzzstain: Because the government only uses inkjet printers and buys single cartridges at retail prices. Surely no one in the government has ever heard of bulk purchasing. Or laser printers.


Yeah, I was kinda wondering if that had been taken into consideration.
2014-03-28 08:49:50 PM  
1 votes:
His damn Garamond looks like draft mode.
 
Displayed 54 of 54 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report