Monday, October 31, 2011


I have a junk drawer where I keep-- well, junk. I was prowling through it yesterday and picked up a watch I discarded more than ten years ago. It was a cheap sports watch and I discarded it when the face became scratched and the band stretched and broken. When I looked at the display I was astonished to see the watch was still working, and was only a few minutes off the correct time.

It would be amazing to know how many batteries of different types are manufactured each year. I can remember when the battery-powered devices in the average home consisted of no more than a flashlight and perhaps a small radio. Now there are countless devices we use every day that require batteries. Increased efficiency is making batteries more practical for power hungry devices such as power tools and automobiles. All of this makes me wonder what would happen if the population of the earth suddenly disappeared. How long would those watches, toys, and other battery powered devices continue to tick along just waiting for an invasion of some intelligent species to flip the switch and gaze in wonder at the results?

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