Adventurer toy

So yesterday I stumbled upon a crank-powered shortwave radio, on sale for a very reasonable price.

Of course I had to buy it. While I justify this as Useful Emergency Gear, until such an emergency occurs, it’s mostly a Cool Toy.

Partly because I’ve never actually owned a shortwave radio. The reception is … less than brilliant, even at night, but still … it’s fun to make one’s way slowly through the dial, picking up broadcasts in a glorious array of languages from around the planet, occasionally stopping on something one can understand. Spent a while listening to an English-language broadcast from Taipei, until it gave way to static.

I’ve got to give Tiernay West one of these.

Partly because I like being able to power something — even a very small something, in terms of power demands — with nothing but my own mechanical energy, transferred (by turning the crank) to a rechargable battery inside the machine. Not because of the small part of my brain that wonders what gear would still work should society as we know it collapse (well, partly because of that part of my brain, but not mostly), but because I like the idea of using my own energy rather than something non-renewable and polluting, like oil or (much) electricity.

It conjures up SFnal visions of getting up each morning and spending an hour or so pedalling the bicycle that charges the batteries that run the washing machine and heater and such, it does.

All of which also gets one to thinking about how walking or biking or bussing to work is just one of many ways that increasing physical activity and cleaning up the sorts of energy we use to run our lives could in theory be linked. These aren’t separate issues, but both part of the same larger societal ones.

It’d be a Good Thing if we could get our act together and more widely use this sort of stuff for things other than cool toys, too.

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