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Earlier today in Palo Alto, California, at a hastily orchestrated press conference in the sunny Rachel Carson Courtyard, enviro-botanists at the Commemorative Albert A. Gore, Jr. Omniversity for Constructively Enlightened Planet Change During Our Lifetimes (or CAAGJOCEPDCOF: often pronounced ‘cog-joke-peed-cough’ by those in the know) unveiled the Solar Zinnia.
So named because of its massive organic photovoltaic (PV) petals that continually reorient themselves in alignment with, but orthogonal to, the most direct and intense rays of our Sun, the patented transgenic Solar Zinnia holds out great promise for our energy craving planet. This particular specimen, though germinated from a grafted bud over merely the last 72 hours, has already reached the impressive blossom diameter of over 4 feet. Researchers speculate that a complete farm field of hundreds of acres of such impressive flowers could be put into place in mere weeks. Thus, we could soon see vast rolling hills swathed in these hardy and colorful perennials, effectively replacing the largest solar arrays now in existence on the planet.
The Solar Zinnia is the first real break-out success for the stumbling R&D staff of earthies at CAAGJOCEPDCOF. You may recall from several years back the fiasco of their supposedly edible clothing: outerwear derived from biodegradable cornstarch filaments dosed with a variety of flavor additives. The Blueberry Burberry was a flop, as was the Mackintosh Mackintosh (or MackMack). Luckily, however — after the clothing line was pilloried in the fashion press, and was thence assiduously avoided by the purchasing public — the CAAG’s scientists were at least able to spin off a minor line of naughty nibblesome nighties, anchored by the classic ‘Peppermint Panty’. Ensuing proceeds from adult boutiques around the nation kept the humbled research staff afloat for most of the next few years.
But the clods at CAAG managed next to shoot themselves in the other foot, so to speak. In developing their ‘Ped-o-Metro’ line of footwear, they purportedly refined sneakers with mini-dynamos in their soles that powered an embedded sidewalk grid, returning the walkers expended leg and foot energy into a ready resource for powering streetlights, walk signals, even electric trolley cars running on nearby streets. Overlooked in all their initial exuberance was the fact that the electrical exchange between sneaker dynamos and sidewalk grid also happened to encourage exponentially the growth rate of tinea pedis, the fungal culprit underlying athlete’s foot. So, rather than selling countless pairs of ‘Ped-O-Metros’ to gain millions of happily turbo-charging hiker customers, the think tank instead gained a growing backlog of litigious consumers complaining of itchy, scaly, blistery, flaky, burning toes and footpads. So much for happy feet!
Better left unsaid are details surrounding the lab’s next great blunder out on the environmental science frontier: ‘Potties for Pluto (and Parsecs Beyond!)’.
So, it was with considerable relief that CAAG’s founding roster of scientists and technicians took the dais today to bask in the applause of all of the gathered greens over this most recent announcement. (Let’s just hope no one goes public with word that each Solar Zinnia must sprout from a voluminous vat of hundreds of gallons of regularly replenished West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude oil, somewhat complicating that old ‘alternative energy’ calculation.)
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