Thursday, April 1, 2010

Celebrating battery awareness month

I don’t know about all of you, but it seems that every time I turn around someone is telling me that a toy needs new batteries. The first full sentence my daughter said was probably, “This no wok. Need new batties.”
If you’re like me, I come to you today with some fabulous new research that I’ve read about that can not only save you sanity in trying to figure out if the batteries in the junk drawer are good or not, but also save you some major moola.
As it turns out, April is Battery Awareness Month. This is a holiday even I have never heard of. I have read that April was National Pecan Month and Jazz Appreciation Month, but never in my wildest dreams did I think an entire month would be dedicated to double A’s, triple A’s, 9 volts, and their giant expensive cousin, the D.
I was wrong! And reading a news blurb on the Internet led to some pretty interesting facts.
A recent article published in the American Report of Power Science reports that children are 14 times more likely to play with a toy that requires batteries rather than one that is manually powered or does not include lights or sound. As a parent and someone who knows many children, I believe this statement to be completely true. Battery powered toys are in everywhere you look. My child actually got a battery powered spoon from a cereal box.
But the shocking report continues, and this is what really surprised me. Apparently battery powered toys are that are left in close vicinity of each other tend to “suck the life” out of adjacent batteries, somehow cancelling each other’s juice so that both toys end up with a shorter life span. Even scarier? This phenomenon happens to more than just toys. Do you have battery powered clocks? Remote controls or video games all jammed in one drawer? I thought so.
According to the article, scientists at the Northwestern New Mexico School of Electricity found that battery powered items should be at least 33” inches apart in order for the batteries to maintain their maximum power. As a family, we tend to go through batteries left and right, and for us the cost really adds up. Trying to save a few dollars here and there is always good, so I came up with a way that my kids can actually take better care of their battery-powered toys. A sheet of paper is 11 inches tall. By cutting it lengthwise and taping it end to end, I created a simple 33” measuring strip. We keep a few of them around the house and they can easily measure the distance of their toys. And call me crazy, but I haven’t changed any batteries since I stared this experiment!
I also learned that when we install batteries, by holding it by the ends, we also suck some of the energy from the unit. The electrical shock that we all carry naturally zaps a fraction of the life out of the battery by just touching it. The article I read gave a very simple solution. In order to stop the transfer of electrons, we just need to ground it. The easiest way to do this, they said, was to rub the battery – get this!—on the bottom of your foot. By doing this, you and the battery become a similar charge and everybody stays fully energized.
And there you have it, two easy ways to save your family big bucks in the way of batteries thanks to National Battery Awareness Month. For all of the devices we have laying around our home, I believe we can save enough money to go out and buy more toys. Make sure to check your own home and tell a friend, and see if they too are gullible enough to cut up paper, rub their feet with a double A, and not check the date at the top of this page…

Note: I've heard that some people didn't actually understand that this column ran as an April Fool's joke...and are smacking themselves for not fully reading the last line and rubbing batteries on the bottom of their feet. So sorry if it is you-- the only things that are absolutely true in this piece is that April is Jazz and Pecan month and my son did get a battery powered spoon from a cereal box. There is no such electric publication nor university, and zero truth in any of the battery-related information. I done did make da whole thing up.

1 comments:

The Starr Family said...

Honest to goodness Karrie... if my husband admits me because I am rubbing batteries on the bottom of my calloused feet... your proverbial arse is grarse.

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