Sunday, February 05, 2006

Alternative Energy Sources

Latigo Flint's Handy Field Guide to Alternative Energy Sources
by Latigo Flint

Wind Power:
How does it work?
Cover a windy hill with propellers on poles. The wind turns the blades, which spins the shaft, which connects to a generator and makes electricity.

Benefits: Clean, renewable energy.
Downside: Occasionally decapitates endangered birds.

Hydroelectric Power:
How does it work?
Dam up a water source and concentrate the flow past turbines, which connect to a generator and produces electricity.

Benefits: Clean, renewable energy.
Downside: A substantial rise in recreational boating accidents. And pisses the hell out of turtles.

Solar Power:
How does it work?
Banks of photovoltaic cells capture energy from sunlight and convert it to electricity.

Benefits: Clean, renewable energy.
Downside: Is considered a really "nerdy" way to generate power and Canada and Mexico make fun of us for using it. Also if it's overcast for too long, your milk goes bad and you can't download porn.

Geothermal Power:
How does it work?
Sink a shaft in a region where constant volcanic activity results in super-heated water near the surface. Pipe the water up and use the concentrated steam to spin turbines, which connect to a generator and produces electricity.

Benefits: Clean, renewable energy.
Downside: Is tantamount to giving Mother Earth a wet-willy and you just know that's gonna make her angry at some point. Also sometimes the brackets on the surface pipes fail and boiling water squirts into the nests of nearby endangered birds.

Solar Power Satellites:
How does it work?
Massive arrays of solar panels in geosynchronous* orbit around the earth capture solar energy 24 hours a day, convert it microwaves, which are beamed down to receiver stations on Earth and converted back into electricity.
(*Always stays above the same spot on Earth because it orbits the equator at such a distance that it's traveling at the same speed the earth spins.)

Benefits: Clean, renewable energy.
Downside: You just know eventually some asshole is going to hack the controls, intensify the beam and use it to demolish New York and/or point it at the nests of endangered birds.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells:
How does it work?
Layers of materials with distinct electrochemical properties are pressed together to form a single galvanic cell, which is then dipped in otter urine. Then some other stuff happens and eventually somewhere a turbine probably spins.

Benefits: Relatively clean, renewable energy, sort of.
Downside: Top speed of a fuel cell car maxes out at 55, downhill, and at stoplights male otters run up and try to hump the hood.

How does it work?
Vegetable oil is extracted from vegetables and replaces petroleum fuels to power existing internal combustion engines.

Benefits: Makes millions of hippies giddy with joy.
Downside: Sure, today it's corn oil, but tomorrow it'll be baby oil (the oil of smushed up babies) and soon it'll be the oil from the eyeballs of endangered birds--we all know how these things go.

Tidal Energy:
How does it work?
The constant ebb and flow of the ocean's tides are used to drive a turbine, which is connected to a generator and produces electricity.

Benefits: Clean, renewable energy.
Downside: Frequent kelp blockage, and rotting kelp smells bad.

Whale Energy:
How does it work?
High frequency underwater speakers positioned along whales' migratory paths use shrill blasts of sound to herd the confused giants into submerged corrals where in their panic, they bump into turbines, which are connected to generators and electricity is produced.

Benefits: Clean, renewable energy.
Downside: PETA assassinates anyone who dares to even publicly discuss Whale Energy.

Turbine Energy:
How does it work?
Teams of harnessed poodles pull giant turbines up a really steep hill. Then the turbines are rolled back down the hill where they bonk into the blades of even bigger turbines, which are connected to generators and produce electricity.

Benefits: Clean, renewable energy.
Downside: Turbine energy actually has no downside.

How does it work?
It is a fundamental principle of the universe that every particle must have a corresponding "anti-particle" and electricity particles are no different. Anti-electricity, otherwise known as the Buellerian Principle of Backwards Relativity, is generated by running household appliances backwards, routing the positive gain back into the power grid.

Benefits: Clean, renewable energy that's as fun to generate as it is to use.
Downside: Matthew Broderick holds the patent and he's being a real dick in the royalty negotiation process.

Drinking Alone in a Room With All the Lights Off, Belching Against the Blades of a Small Turbine Until You Pass Out Energy:
How does it work?
You drink alone in a room with all the lights off and belch against the blades of a small turbine until you pass out. When you wake up, repeat.

Benefits: Clean, renewable energy... kinda.
Downside: I don't remember, but there's probably one or two.


At 3:43 AM, Blogger hen said...

Another drawback for the hydro-cells is that currently there are not enough otters to produce quantities of otter piss needed. Obviously huge otter farms would be needed where millions of otters would be bred for their urine. But then one day a leader would be born amongst them and lead a huge otter army to overthrow the evil human oppressors. Then we would have a whole Planet of Apes scenario on our hands but with giant otters.

The fools! Won't people ever learn!

At 5:58 AM, Anonymous caleb said...

What about Nuclear Fusion reactors?

"Oh but Caleb, they produce radioactive waste"

What about non-radioactive Nuclear Fusion reactors?

The Russians are planning on building a permanent base on the moon to mine a non-radioactive Helium Isotope that could be used for non-radioactive Nuclear Fusion

Latigo, your forgiving and compassionate (I hope) ways have opened my eyes to a whole new world of opportunity and enlightenment.

I've since adorned my chapeaux with a single red star.

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Blog ho said...

when did they teach all this out west?

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Berlinbound said...

The secret author of America's energy policy is revealed ... VP Dick is going to be really pissed. I feel a wave of warrant-free searches coming on ...

At 12:58 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Nooklar Energy. Where something inside a big vat of otter piss nooks something or other.

Benefit: It can be pronounced by George W. Bush

Disadvantages: As "hen" said, lack of sufficient vats of otter urine.

At 3:20 PM, Blogger Cad Grublygold said...

Non Radioactive Fusion Mr.Caleb is called Cold Fusion...........just thought I'd through that out there and look like a total weene asshole.

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

You missed my favorite energy source, which is Cat Power. The only downside is a skyrocketing suicide rate.

At 7:26 PM, Blogger Rasmus said...

I find your great care for endanger birds moving and concerning.

I would think that, as a gunslinger, you wouldn't care that much about endangered species.

At 11:27 PM, Blogger Wulfenjarl said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:29 PM, Blogger Wulfenjarl said...

Exactly how many beers does it take to produce DARWALO-BABSTUYPO Energy?

At 11:12 PM, Blogger ThePaula said...

Take me now you hunk of manflesh.

At 4:31 AM, Blogger Noir Muse said...

I think you forgot to mention "Girl Power" - where drunk sorority girls use their mojo to spin a multicolored dance floor (which is connected to a turbine somehow I believe)

At 4:49 AM, Blogger Peter said...

An exhaustive and POWERful post Latigo, the depth of your knowledge, (and the otter urine) never cease to amaze me.

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Amandarama said...

When I was 8 I made a solar generator out of garbage bags strips, coffee canisters and styrofoam cups. The flywheel was made from the top of a margarine tub. It won 3rd place in the science fair. I can only imagine what I might have won if I'd created a turbine powered by alcohol burps. You are truly a scientific visionary, Latigo.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Francis Marion Tarwater said...

Perhaps those space otters will be good for something after all.

At 11:00 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

So true Hen, so true. One day a leader would be born amongst them--one otter to rule them all. God that's chilling, I'm not going to sleep for a week now.

Well, be careful Caleb, the thing about sides is it's always possible to slide too far to either edge. (And by the way, there is nothing to forgive--dialogue should do no damage and of course hasn't in our case.)

I don't remember Ho. Perhaps the great conspiracy of silence is that beer actually makes you smarter.

I'm not afraid of anyone Berlinbound, and Vice Presidents least of all. I'm Latigo Flint, I'm the goddamn Grin in the goddamn Dark.

Insufficient quantities of otter urine have become one of the more severe threats to national security Old Hoss--narrowly edging out the lack of an heir to the Baldwin Throne.

You mean in addition to spelling "throw" as "through", my dear Cad?

Unless, Trevor Record, the suicides involve people jumping off cliffs onto turbine blades which spin and generate electricity--in which case it would have no downside.

Thank you Rasmus. I am a remarkable man, it's true.

I don't remember Wulf, probably a lot. The control to any experiment to test DARWALO-BABSTUYPO Energy would have to involve not drinking beers--and what fun is that?

It was the Solar Power Satellites, wasn't it Paula? The very mention of Solar Power Satellites always makes smart girls wet.

Gotta save something for the second edition Muse. I've been recently working on a theory that Girl Power would be even more efficiently generated if the drunk sorority girls were free of the encumberment of clothing. Less chance of turbine blade snaggage, you know? I don't suppose you'd be willing to test and video it for me? You can be co-author on the scientific paper.

Thank you Peter. And otter urine amazes us all.

We do what we can with what we have Amandarama. I think it is in fact you who is the scientific visionary--I've never even placed above "Participant" in even the crudest of science fairs.

God willing Solace Layfield. And I believe Space Otters shall have a significant role to play before all is said and done.


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