Here in Britain, in Somerset to be precise, we are harnessing, as Ananova reports, hamster power:
We’ve often wondered for what purpose exactly hamsters were put upon this earth, and now we know: to charge mobile phones.
Sixteen-year-old Peter Ash, of Somerset, finally cracked this age-old poser after his long-suffering sister complained of pet hamster Elvis scuttling away for hours during his nocturnal exercise wheel regime.
Ash told Ananova: “I thought the wheel could be made to do something useful so I connected a system of gears and a turbine.” He then patched the output to his mobe’s charger and voila! – free hamster energy at around thirty minutes’ talktime for every two hamster wheel minutes.
My thanks to Michael Jennings for emailing me the link to this important news. In his email, he noted the educational angle. Apparently this was a school project, but was not marked very highly.
Surprisingly – and considering all the current moaning about falling exam standards, etc, etc – Ash only got a “C” for this contribution to his GSCE science course and, undoubtedly, a clean-energy future for all our children. Perhaps if he’d knocked together a desktop cold fusion reactor powered by supercharged, neutron-emitting guinea pigs suspended in deuterium gas he might have earned himself an “A”.
To be a bit more serious, I think the real story here is not just a new way to get power, but the fact that nowadays a little bit of power can go a whole lot further than it used to. Hamsters have long had it in them to crank out a dribble of electricity. What is new here, surely, is the “mobe” which makes such good use of it.
Over the weekend, Bill Oddie fronted a TV show about dinosaurs, in which, in order to learn how fast dinosaurs could run, an ostrich called Sharon was asked to run on an exercise machine. She apparently enjoyed doing this a lot. (The point was that ostriches have similar legs to what dinosaurs used to have. Work out how fast and for how long ostriches can run, with their legs, and you can calculate how fast and for how long the dinosaurs could run.) Maybe Sharon and her sisters and brothers could get jobs generating electricity.
Maybe gymnasia could double up as places where you can recharge your phone. By the sweat of your brow, I mean. Not just by handing it in at the desk and collecting it later. That way, you earn the right to spout rubbish over it to your idiot friends.