One Rant at a Time

Whatever heaves into view........better keep its head down.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


My life is ruled by electricity. The availability of it, the need for it, the fear of running out of it, the sheer dependency.

When I travel, I carry more power cords and plugs than anything else. Cords for this laptop, for my mobile phone, for my iPod, even for my electric toothbrush. I'm weighed down by copper and plastic coating, by adaptor plugs and by transformers. If I only have one adaptor plug, then I need to work out a complicated schedule whereby my phone gets charged overnight, the iPod between breakfast and lunch, the laptop whenever I'm using it, and the toothbrush, thank God, only needs a charge once every so often.

If I'm travelling on business, the first twenty minutes in a hotel room are spent on hands and knees looking for all the power outlets and plugging in the various cords. I feel like a plate-spinner, juggling electrical items and their constant need for juice. If I don't make sure everything is topped up, I'm confronted with rising panic as the "battery low" icon starts flashing on my laptop as I'm composing urgent emails, or the beeping of my phone as I'm on line to my office making sure things are ship-shape.

What's happening to us? We're all becoming tied to these black umbilicals, these snaking octopus arms that draw us back towards a source of power, that comfort us and reassure us that no, we're not going to be incommunicado because our machinery is happily suckling at the breast of Mother Electricity. I heard somewhere that in China, every five days a new power station starts up. What's going to happen when those billions start owning laptops and mobiles?

This is why I'm hoping and praying fervently that fuel cells come to the rescue. Imagine: a small ink-cartridge affair filled with methanol or hydrogen, that you just slip into your phone or iPod, that'll run it for who-knows how long. No more scrabbling around the dusty corners of hotel rooms looking for an outlet, no more sinking feeling as the phone cuts out in mid-conversation.

They'll advertise fuel cells as liberty, freedom from those black snakes and copper wires. They'll make it look as easy and glamorous as popping a stick of chewing gum after a meal. And I, for one, will be buying that.


At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You want to increase the green house gasses?? ...... but it would be fantastic! and as for dusty hotel corners.... what sort of hotels do you stay in??? :-))


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