All Charged Up

We have a new water tank and a few thousand dollars less in our bank account, or we will once we pay off the charge card…. (charge card? Who says charge card? Charge-a-plate is cool, though) once we pay off the charge-a-plate. And you know how it is with something new, especially this large, all eyes are on it to make sure it’ll operate fully and not take on the phantom illness of its predecessor. And the one question I forgot to ask amid the myriad I fired at the guys about the new tank, is how a hole could just form in the side of the other tank, and not even on a seam, if even there was a seam.

Now that it’s over, I wish I had had the audacity to step out of my melee for a moment and photograph the mess…for the blog’s sake, but at the time, getting rid of the standing water was a more pressing issue. But you can imagine what 3 inches of water across a space of about 20 feet, under 80 lb bags of water softener salt, a mini freezer, and seeping up into cardboard boxes, while a stream, like a geyser, shoots out of a hole in the side of the water tank against the wall, splattering all over everything, including electrical wires looks like.

Speaking about charging, Rupert Murdock wants to pull news stories from his publications (such as The Wall Street Journal) off Google once his News Corp company’s content becomes strictly pay-to-read. But despite his claims that Google are “kleptomaniacs”, who is going to want to pay for news items they previously got for free? Charging for it isn’t going to make the news any better. Sounds like he’s just shooting himself in the foot with this one. News comes from all over the place.

And speaking of charging, scientists are developing alternate means of battery power. I’m not sure I understand all the techo mumbo jumbo, but I’ll do my best to make it just slightly clearer than mud for you. The hook of the story is that you could charge your cell phone battery simply by walking or even spray on a new battery.

Every movement of your body makes energy. Even the motion of typing makes energy. Scientists are looking for ways to harness that energy to power small devices, such as a cell phone or a media player (that’s code for iPod, I’ll bet) and it’s all to do with nanotechnology. Nano, of course meaning one billionth; technology meaning never ending source of joy and frustration at the same time.

Environmentally friendly zinc oxide nanowires have the capability of harnessing this energy of movement and they are less harmful to the environment that silicon that is more traditionally used. The eventual goal in this motion powered battery is to create a way to self-power a blood pressure or a glucose monitor, simply by implanting a small device in the arm and it would detect one’s own pulse, in a similar fashion as a test mouse with a nanogenerator attached to its heart which read out in picowatts, which is one million millionth of a watt.

Another potential source of power is from the M13 bacteriophage, which is a virus to bacteria and which we have all over ourselves, (yet is harmless to humans). These engineered viruses coat themselves with iron phosphate then bind to carbon nanotubes (sorry, my brain is exploding with all this terminology).

During this process the virus is not alive and once the battery is made, the virus can no longer make copies of itself. Which I would hope since it was allegedly dead in the first place, but even cockroaches tend to grow an ever increasing immunity to each stronger formula of Raid. This viral type of technology could be used in spray form which gets applied to the device.

Just don’t be in a rush and mix up your spray on battery with your Aqua-Net.

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