Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kids Brainstorm GreenTech!

Happy Republic Day!  The kids and I were taking a walk a couple of weeks ago, talking about electricity and how to measure it.  My 12 year old was struggling in school with watts, volts, kilowatt hours and all that.  After a while, we got bored, and our discussion shifted to outlandish invention-ideas.  The kids came up with a list of cool ways we could generate electricity without using fossil fuels.  I took notes. If there is anyone out there who wants to develop some of these, I'm sure you could make some money.  Or not.  Here they are:
  1.  Hybrid bicycles"Just like hybrid cars, you know. Take the energy you use when you brake and save it somehow."  (Note: when I showed my sons this articicle from the New York Times  which ran in the Asian Age a week after our conversation, my nine year old said this to his older brother: "Hey!  It's your idea!  Did you send it in?")
  2. Pedal powered generators for home use.  "You just sit back and pedal while you are watching the TV or playing the computer.  You could even take turns!"
  3. Ox-powered generators.  "Only problem is, you'd have a big ox to take care of!"
  4. Mini-generators inside of playground equipment.  "The swings and stuff wouldn't go as fast, but after a few generations, nobody would notice...still, a lot of kids are gonna hate us if somebody makes this stuff!"
  5. Health clubs could put generators in their treadmills and weight machines.  "Obvious!"
  6. Mini-floating dams in the oceans. "Do you think that would work?"
  7. Pogo stick, trampoline or other spring-powered generators.  "Now THAT would be fun!"
We had to conclude that we'd probably use less electricity in the future if we had to generate it ourselves (or care for that pet ox)!  We didn't solve the world's problems, but we did have a pretty good time talking about them.   
It's not too late to sign this on-line petition against new nukes in India. It will be turned in on 30 January.
 Associationfor Indian Development is asking us to fast or light a candle on January 30 to show our opposition to BT Brinjal.  Find out more at AID-Fast to stop BT Brinjal.


  1. "My 12 year old was struggling in school with watts, volts, kilowatt hours and all that."

    Now I know why India has so many more great engineers and other technical professionals than the US. I wasn't introduced to these basics of electricity until I began studying electronics in technical school.

    If only the rest of us could continue thinking outlandish thoughts and coming up with wild ideas the way children do, perhaps real progress wouldn't seem so far beyond reach most days.

  2. @Thurman--well, we do need to get our best minds on these kinds of things, now don't we? And although the rational part of me thinks many of the problems we face may be insurmountable, I think hope is probably part of the human condition. Glad you stopped by.

  3. My son doing his research on how to write a scholarship essay. He have no idea about that. You done a great work through this blog. Please suggest him some tips.


What do you think?