I am watching a very engaging discussion on the the Charlie Rose Show about “the pursuit of alternative energy and breakthroughs in green technology with John Doerr of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers,

About 10mins into the show Scott McNealy gives a very interesting perspective of the energy efficiency of transportation systems- as a society we generally transport atoms (any matter), electrons (electricity, telephones, etc) or photons (optical signals over fibre optic systems). Moving atoms is highly inefficient, electrons are probably at best 50% efficient and transporting photons is the most efficient.

Scott says that even when it comes to transporting atoms some systems are inherently more efficient than others. He gives the example that driving to a shop to buy shoes is less energy efficient than ordering online because the package delivery service optimizes the use of transportation / energy. Banking online is even more efficient than going physically to a bank because you are only moving electrons and/or photons.

So check out the show for free on Google video here .