A Modest Proposal
Jonathon Swift, arguably one of the English languages most prominent essayist, pamphleteers, and satirists, is known for his rapier sharp retorts and dry wit. Those not familiar with the intricacies of satire are probably not aware that it follows very clear rules of meter and verse, and rather than just a humorous way of poking fun at concepts which are taken too seriously, may be viewed as a form of poetry, in and of itself.
Regrettably, Mr. Swift used this verse out of sheer habit when penning the one serious work of his career, entitled A Modest Proposal For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public. It seems that, among the many modern comforts they lacked in the early 18th century, editors were included, else it would’ve been shortened to A Modest Proposal, such as it is referred to now.
In this work, Mr. Swift addresses the serious problem of poverty and hunger among the lower classes of his native Ireland. He puts forth a number of practices which would ease the burden of the poor, but perhaps none so effective as his suggestion that children be consumed. He says, "A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragoust."
Perhaps, had he been taken seriously, the economic state of Ireland, and indeed much of the world, would be markedly different than it is now. None can say for certain. But whatever the case, it is this enterprising, forthright, and direct mindset which I have admired over the years, and sought to emulate in hopes of dealing with the problems we face in everyday life, if in some small way.
To that effect, I respectfully submit a modest proposal of my own for consideration, and hope that with popular support will find the funds to enact this in a functional prototype, and eventually on a mass scale.
Just as Mr. Swift’s proposal focused on the eminent worry of his day (hunger), mine focuses on the worry of the modern world (energy).
The issue lies in the Law of Conservation of Energy, stating that energy cannot be created or destroyed, simply changed from one state to another. Thus, when a lump of coal or a gallon of gasoline is burned, the energy potential in these things is dissipated in the form of light and heat. And for every iteration by which energy goes from fuel source to desired effect, energy is lost. Wasted.
The solution then is to find a natural occurrence which bears close similarity to a desired effect.
The common AC electrical motor at its most simple form if made up of two parts: a stator and rotor. The stator is stable and unmoving, surrounding the rotor, which can turn like a spindle or crankshaft. When an electrical current is passed through the stator, it creates an electromagnetic field whose poles shift rapidly, causing the rotor to spin. Anything run by a crankshaft can conceivably be connected to the rotor.
Conversely, should the structure of the motor be changed, an outside force can be used to turn the rotor and eventually generate an electrical current within the stator.
After some searching, I believe I’ve found a source which could be harnessed to create both electrical and kinetic energy, and it’s come about by considering two old and common truisms.
1. A cat will always land on its feet.
2. When buttered and dropped onto carpet, a piece of toast will always land butter-side down.
Outwardly, there seems to be little value in these sayings, but when you pair them, the possibilities are virtually endless. All you need do is tie a piece of toast butter-side up to the back of a cat and drop it onto a carpet.
Despite common thought, the cat will not in fact hover. The dissonance between both cat and toast will fluctuate, generating an effect not unlike that of an unstable magnetic field, meaning the cat will begin to spin along its longest axis, parallel with the carpet.
With the addition of a crankshaft along the length of the cat’s spine, we begin to see a natural stator and rotor, just as with the electrical motor. Should a hoop of carpeting be used instead of a single flat surface and the cat be a long-haired breed, it’s possible that the resulting static electrical potential could be harnessed as an electrical generator as well.
Naturally, the implications of a device so simple and cheap is staggering. It would make nuclear power, solar electricity, gasoline, and hydrogen obsolete.
It is important, however, that we not jump the gun here. There are a number of factors which must first be established and overcome before the benefits of an in-house kitty generator can be reaped. Due to a cat’s relatively low bodyweight, it is unlikely in the extreme that a kitty-powered engine would provide the necessary torque to motivate a vehicle. To that end, a series of gear linkages becomes necessary to translate the kitty’s high-speed, low-torque output to a car’s variable-speed, variable-torque needs. A device to keep the toast buttered on a continuous basis can likely be built by using an interrupting gear attached to the kitty’s crankshaft as well as liquid spray butter. Further tests will be required to establish whether or not different types of butter (and toast, for that matter) have an effect on the total output of the system.
Also, and perhaps more importantly for the sake of your carpeting and drapes, early versions of the kitty-powered generator will have to take into account the cost of large quantities of Dramamine. Later iterations of the generator will hopefully make use of cats bred to be highly tolerant to motion sickness, but the demands of the hour require that early versions as well as the prototype will have to make use of whatever cats can be found at the local shelter and from the crazy single woman down the street who owns 70 of them, all named Bob.
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