|Prisoner power producing "Pedal Vision"|
Photo credit Myfoxphoenix.com
Years ago I proposed the idea of taking idle prisoners and putting them to work generating electricity on stationary bicycles. I had seen television programs and read stories about prisoners who had all of this idle time which often led to mischief. Then recently I heard about how the notorious Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio took that unused idea of mine and put it into use.
Arpaio noticed how these overweight prisoners were just sitting around watching their TVs when they could be doing something more productive. He came up with the idea of the electricity generating stationary bikes serving the dual purpose of helping the prisoners get exercise and lose weight while producing the energy needed to power their television sets.
The concept of the electricity-generating stationary bike is not new by any means. When I was a kid I can recall the generating devices on bicycles that powered the bicycle head and tail lights. These can still be found in use on bicycles today. There are several gyms and individuals who have gym equipment that generates power. Just think of the amount of power that could be generated by these and similar means if this human exercise powered energy was in wide use.
There has been much talk of alternative energy in the past several decades. Some scoffers might prefer to think of it as "eccentric energy". These are the voices of the "it'll never work" crowd. Regenerating fuel generators for hydrogen powered engines have been around since at least the 1970s. Why aren't we using some of the amazing ideas that innovators have been coming up with for as much as a hundred years?
A lot of people like to blame the big oil companies or the automobile companies for the repression of innovation that leads to a lack of progress. They may be partly to blame, but certainly they can adapt since there will continue to be a market for non-renewable energy sources. Are those companies the ones with the most to lose?
What about the government? Petroleum products, coal, and other fuels are commodities that can be traded with taxes attached to them. How do you tax the sun, the wind, the tides, or energy that is regenerating? Alternative energy may be labeled as "eccentric" or "impractical" because there may be a huge loss of revenue to our government.
Next time you fill up your car at the gas pump take note of how much of the fuel price includes federal, state, and local taxes. Figure out how much in taxes you paid for that fill-up. Then multiply that by the millions of vehicles that are filled up weekly and, in some cases, daily. That is a lot of tax dollars.
Now tell me how it would benefit the government to switch to those nutty forms of eccentric energy that would save us all a lot of money and clean up the environment. Call me a dreamer. Call me eccentric. There are some ideas that are at least worth trying.