Summit Up 3-12-10
Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that’s trying to figure out how to harness kinetic energy from the wagging tails of dogs. Someone was telling us they heard about scientists working on ways to grab energy from things like people walking and other stuff, and there was a dog standing there, it’s tail wagging like mad and obviously creating a lot of potential kinetic energy (or is that an oxymoron?) Anyway, we were thinking if you could attach some kind of collector on the dog’s tail, which then transmits the energy from the tail to some kind of receiver on the dog’s collar, which in turn shoots some sort of beam onto a special dish in the house which then transmits the energy to some kind of battery … why, you’ve got enough power there from your happy dog to power a clock radio or something!
Don’t laugh: There’s a lot of interesting work being done on this around the globe. Here’s just a sampling:
Beer drinking power: In Belgium, scientists are studying ways to transmit the energy from beer drinkers lifting steins into enough energy to power the refrigerators that keep the beer cold.
Facebook power: In Palo Alto, they’re looking at ways to take all that energy used to type meaningless friend requests, ridiculous quiz answers and inane posts about what’s on your mind into power to create automatic advertising spam based on your profile information.
Angry rhetoric amalgamation: Scientists in Uzbekistan are testing a special hat that goes on the heads of people on the extreme ends of various political spectrums. When they’re typing on their blogs or leaving nasty online comments on newspaper websites, the power of their ire has been found to be capable of lifting helicopters off the ground.
Drunk guy power: You know that guy who, at the bar, is spattering all over the place like a leaping piece of bacon? You can’t get rid of him – he has that story that he has to tell you, and this REALLY IMPORTANT VIEWPOINT ABOUT SOME GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY that someone has to do something about!!! (If you happen to be a journalist and Drunk Guy knows this, BTW, you are really in trouble because he will most certainly want you to do a huge “expose” – although fortunately he will have forgotten all about it by the time you get back to your desk Monday). Anyway, that guy is not only demonstrating a lot of potential kinetic energy, but he’ll be more than happy to wear the special Drunk Guy Energy Harness being developed by researchers in The Hague. The best part is, the more Drunk Guy drinks and flails, the more energy he produces! Then, of course, the graph of his energy contributions to the grid goes into a steep declination when he passes out and/or gets arrested. But that’s the chance you have to take in the New Energy Economy!
As an aside, we want to mention that we once knew a guy who acquired the nickname “Leaping Piece of Bacon” because, at parties, he spattered. Eventually it got shortened to “Leap,” and only a few of us knew the full monniker and the reason for its assignation. Nicknames – gotta love ’em!
Speaking of Drunk Guy, every once in a while we hear a story about someone who, while loaded, ends up in the wrong house and, usually, gets in lots of trouble. We were thinking about this while perusing this new product from Kwikset, which is a company that makes locks and doorknobs and such and which has a new product out called the SmartCode keyless, which you can see pictured here.
Whaddaya think? Is this an improvement over the old metal key that you either lost or forgot or lent to your neighbor for some stupid reason? If you were tipsy or otherwise indisposed, would you be able to remember the combo or even punch it in? What if it’s really cold out and you don’t want to take off your gloves? Above all, would it keep Drunk Guy from barging into your house and barfing on the carpet?
Let us know about this newfangled doorknob: Amazing breakthrough or needless complication? And what if the power goes out, as it does in Summit County every other day nowadays? Use our special e-mail alert system code: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaking of comments, with all this “I-70 closed through Glenwood Canyon” biz this week, we were asking if anyone remembered back in the day how, when they were putting I-70 through Glenwood Canyon, you had to wait for eons to get through. Ray Bowman of Littleton wrote to say this:
“Yes, I am older than most of the dirt in that canyon, since some of it has washed down from the upper reaches. BUT, another couple was traveling with us, and during the traffic stop, we got out of the cars, and sat down and played several hands of bridge. Didn’t see anyone else playing cards, but lots of people looking at the rocks in wonderment.”
That’s cool, Ray, thanks for writing. We’re amazed that someone from Littleton read our column! Some day you’ll have to let us know how to play bridge. Sounds hard.
Folks, we’ve wasted enough of your time today. It’s Friday, go enjoy it …
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