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Our Changing Times: Electronics and Other Stuff

This is the sixth in the series ˜Our Changing Times”. It is about how we are starting to alter our way of living in response to global climate change.Last time we talked about how there is a tread towards greater communication at all levels of society. This communication results in a reduction in carbon emissions by reducing unneeded paper production and its associated transportation. Changes are taking place rapidly in many of the common items we use everyday. When was the last time you had to windup your radio?For as long as most of us can remember electronics has been a part of our lives. I was trained as an electronics technician in the mid-sixties on vacuum tube equipment. In my last year transistors and the first integrated circuits were introduced.As you might think anything electronic uses electricity from one source or another. We are used to plugging our gear into the wall socket and not even thinking about it. If we are camping or in a boat our electronics will most often be battery powered.In days of yore the cells were zinc batteries that leaked if they were left in the device for too long and managed to ruin what ever they were running. As time has gone on alkaline, lithium and Nimh were developed, to name few. While these new batteries lasted longer and were smaller they still had to be replaced often and at a continuing cost to the consumer.As the cost of materials to make batteries increased innovative companies began to look into ways of decreasing or eliminating batteries.In the last few years, with the threat of global warming on everyone’s mind, there has been even greater incentive to reduce our battery usage.A common problem many people have these days is that their cell phone battery runs down and they have no way to charge it. Our friends ˜across the pond” have come up with a solar powered cell phone battery charger http://www.freeplayenergy.com/products.html.This charger will also run and charge just about anything else we use.Did you know why a flashlight was given that particular name? When the first batteries were used in these lights they were so bad that the light could only be turned on for a few seconds at a time to avoid running the battery down. From a distance, the light seemed to flash on and off “ thus it was called a flashlight.”It was been the same story for the flashlight battery over the years until recently. A technology has been developed that allows a user to turn a hand crank a few times and charge battery for hours of operations. LED bulbs are used in combination with a battery for 1600 hours of use per battery at a minimum.This hand crank technology has been applied to many other battery-powered devices like various types of radios, lights and generators.Follow these links to learn more.http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/08/24/energy.survival/index.html#cnnSTCTextOn a sunny day you won’t need any fuel or batteries to cook your hotdog according to the following link.http://www.solarcooking.org/Changes in the way we use batteries will not stop global warming but it will help to stop slow it down by not adding more carbon to the atmosphere when we make batteries.

Think Global – Act Local!

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