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A View from the Altar / Battery technology
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Battery technology

When I was a kid, nobody wanted a battery-powered toy.  Carbon-zinc cells were all you could buy.  They were so weak that photons from a flashlight would ooze out of the filament and drip onto the floor like goo.

Batteries are way better now.  Rechargeable lithium-ion cells can power your cell phone for many hours.  Alkaline cells used in toys and flashlights have somewhere between four and five times the energy capacity as the old carbon-zinc batteries.  The little “button” cells use, for example, in musical greeting cards, are similarly potent.

That’s not all to the good.  Americans have developed the habit of giving other people’s children sonically active devices containing these improved energy sources.  We’ve been the recipients of some of this.  The devices seemingly never die.  It’s a full week after Christmas, and we haven’t replaced the first battery.  So, attaboy, Rayovac.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

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