Tuesday, December 3, 2013

When are batteries going to stop sucking so much?

The Oxford Electric Bells are believed to be history’s most impressive example of battery duration. Invented in 1812, the bells have been ringing continuously ever since.

Battery historians revere the particulars of the two-note contraption with such ardor it wouldn’t surprise me if some of the more misguided ones argue the bells are the inspiration for the Chuck Berry song, “My Ding-A-Ling.”

Shows you what snobs elitist battery historians can be.

Everyone knows the most impressive batteries in history are the ones that in 1964 began powering the little transistor radio on “Gilligan’s Island.”

It’s for nearly 50 years brought the hapless castaways news, music and weather to the uncharted desert isle that had to be thousands of miles from the nearest Radio Shack.

And just because someday one of you might be need to know and will gratefully recall this very blog, that radio is a Packard Bell AR-851 8-transistor AM-only radio.

Take that, Alex Trebek!

Batteries die and come back to life so often I’m surprised there isn’t a cult. After all, Jesus Christ did it just once and look how well that’s working out.

I’ve been contemplating batteries ever since my local mechanic charged me $141.99 for a new one to keep my 2007 Saturn Vue running. Buying a new battery is one of the few instances where you get charged in order to get charged.

The car in the cold weather had grown sluggish and had begun making sounds like an old man getting out of a really comfortable chair.

I took it to the mechanic who told me without feeling the battery was dead.

I wanted to protest, please, it can’t be dead. It’s a battery. It can be recharged. Batteries should live forever. Even if it’s just a little bit at a time. A dead battery seems so final.

Of course, I immediately buckled and said I needed the new one right away.

In fact, if I was in a room with a surgeon who told me I needed a new pancreas and a mechanic who told me I needed a new car battery and I could only have one or the other, I’d insist on the new battery.

I know my car needs a battery to run.

I have no idea whether I need a pancreas or not and I’m not even sure there is such a thing. I suspect it might be one of those make-believe organs thoracic surgeons say we need just to juice up the bill.

Besides my vehicle, I rely on batteries to run my phone, my laptop and various other daily essential. Yet, I’m mostly ignorant about what they do or how they function.

I admit this without shame knowing that many men just like me feel the same way about the women with whom they sleep.

Shouldn’t they be more reliable? Be less prone to capricious work stoppages? Shouldn't they put out more?

And to be clear, I’m again talking about batteries, not women.

That a 104-year-old pair of bells is the greatest example of battery duration isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of the technology. Well, in some ways ringing is exactly what it is, but you get the point.

I believe current battery technology is so clunky it’s holding us back in countless fields in dire need of progressive jump starts -- and I hate having to use an all-too-familiar term that conveys battery malfunction to further my argument.

Batteries by now should be smaller and last longer. An Everlast should ‘ever last.

And recycling them shouldn't be such a pain in the butt.
Experts say we’re on the verge of a new era of plentiful renewable energy and we’re just going to need a way to store it. That means we need new and better batteries.

Until that day dawns, I’ll settle for the next step in battery evolution being that they  all become candy flavored and instantly consumable once their final volt dissipates.

Who wouldn’t get a real charge out of that?

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