Alternative sources to energy rather than nuclear
Here in Australia we've had heaps of debate and political wah-wahing about how the natural energy reserves (ie coal and gas) are running out; our water is rarer than a Paris Hilton turtle-neck and petrol prices now mean that we are forced to stop and seriously re-think whether we're going to refill the tank or eat.
Of course this is all very serious, but as you know, regular reader, serious is not what you're going to get here. There's enough of it in the world. No, what you'll get here are some of my own little ideas that, maybe, just maybe, might inspire the blog-surfing brainiac egg-head who has just won a ten million dollar grant to determine that yes, flies do bash their heads against window panes 457 times before they give up an die - and, could instead, be inspired take some of these and develop them into something that will save the planet. Or, if that sounds a tad egotistical, at least save us from having to live a Mad Max or WaterWorld lifestyle and have either Mel Gibson or Kevin Costner as our crazy neighbours.
Firstly, the above picture is from early last century and is something that I too have often thought was vastly under-used. Animal power. There are treadmills for guinea pigs (that's 'hamsters' to you yankees) - why not just enlarge the structure and put an overactive kelpie, blue-heeler or even a jack russell inside of it? Hang a juicy little chop on the outside and - voila - they'll be generating enough energy to power up your home entertainment system.
What about our children? Most parents end up regretting their first glow of pride and joy when their child starts to walk because they soon spend all of their time running after that child to stop it from licking the powerpoints, sticking pencils up the cat's bottom or eating snail shells off the back fence. Why not pop them inside a brightly coloured, well-padded kiddie wheel? Add an inbuilt sound-system playing the Wiggles entire back catalogue and string up three chup-a-chups via fishing line on the outside. The pleasant result will be an active little, dribbly, inquisitive two year old trotting along happily with chubby arms outstretched towards the lollypops and contributing to the energy required to fire up your hot water system.
If you're still along for this wild and crazy mental ride, you'll be able to guess my next suggestion - treadmills in gymnasiums. What a complete waste of good kinetic power going to waste. All those roads going nowhere, powering nothing other than a puddle of sweat on the floor and a pong in the work out room. Why hasn't a scientist invented a gadget to capture and house those kilometres run and spent calories to light up our homes and keep our fridges working?
Whilst the earth's global temperatures may be warming, there still are areas on our planet that need warmth during the cold and bitter winter months. Families that choose to skip manically from toilet-to-bathroom-and-bedroom and then zoom back into the only heated room - normally the living room - like cats on an (ironically) hot tin roof can only dream of having an entire home that is warm and hospitable. Here I issue a challenge: how can we harness the hot air that is produced so prolifically during the oversinging and strangulation of middling old standards on TV shows like American Idol, So You Think You Can Sing and any interview segment showing a politician. Not to mention the daytime soap operas (where actors are contracturally obliged to face the other way when they say stuff like, "Thorn, I have to tell you - this may not be your baby"), aerobic shows and the heat generated from show offs on Big Brother series?
The list is endless and it's a damn shame that those furry microphones don't also have the capacity to capture and store the hot air directed at them. We may not be able to have a sober Miss America or public toilets that don't disguise drop and plop noises but come on...! Surely we should be able to harness so many forms of unused and unrecognised forms of energy being ignored and wasted?