Palo Alto, CA — A 16 month study by the Palo Alto, CA-based research firm the Rundex Family Foundation found that overuse of the CAPS lock key, especially on social media platforms, used 10 times more energy than normal capitalizations. The study, which was funded by Microsoft and the Department of Energy, determined that using oft-maligned functionality can waste up to 1.21 Gigawatts of power per year. And that’s just in the United States.
“Well, the data doesn’t lie,” said Rundex lead researcher Robert Colvin from his Mountain View, CA home office. “But I gotta tell ya, it was hard getting this usage data out of Twitter and Facebook. Anyhow, it’s all about the economy of scale here. When you have perhaps millions of people per day who hysterically slip into what we call ‘CAPS LOCK madness,’ it uses up both Internet bandwidth and electrical power.”
The CAPS LOCK key is a key on the keyboard that tweens, newbies and the generally mentally unstable insist on pressing and using for their entire forum post/IM/text message for reasons unknown. Perhaps they think it looks cool, or maybe they can’t do joined-up writing yet and write in block capitals. It is the most annoying button in existence. Not all CAPS LOCK abuse is deliberate, however. Some accidentally strike the annoying key because they are not paying attention to their screen, which produces even more interesting (and annoying) results like this recent Facebook status.
The Department of Energy’s interest in the study, which started back in the Obama Administration but continued under new Secretary Rick Perry is curious, but for different reasons.
“Well, that’s the thing,” continued Mr. Colvin. “It was the election season and I think the Obama administration was gathering intelligence on Trump supporters, which by the way, have a much higher probability of using CAPS LOCK especially when discussing his policies like building the wall on the Mexican border and how Somali refugees are trying to institute Sharia law in Minnesota. We think Secretary Perry had the same interest, except he thinks it’s actually effective and makes some weird argument for reinstating nuclear testing in Nevada. We’re not 100% sure though. We just billed them.”
It’s unclear if social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and DatingYourMom.com have any plans to institute controls on CAPS LOCK posts, but according to insiders given the amount of potential energy savings, they might experiment with limiting the number.