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Out of Africa

Necessity. The Mother of Invention

Marvelous things are happening on the African Continent.

I’ve asked people what comes to mind first when I say “Africa.” Some mention the big, modern cities, like Nairobi (Kenya), Kinshasha (Congo), Lagos (Nigeria), or Cairo (Egypt).

I’ve met people who adamantly deny Egypt is in Africa — no lie. Beats the hell outta me. Guess they’ve never looked at a map.

Others have mentioned the continent’s environmental wonders, whether geologic, flora or fauna. The Serengeti and the great wildebeest migration. Baobab trees. The Great Rift Valley. Mount Kilimanjaro. Lions, giraffes, and rhinos. And meerkats.

Still others speak of poverty. Villages with unpaved roads, no plumbing, no electricity. Children running around barefoot wearing worn, torn, western-style clothing. Poverty in the cities. Well, the latter is everywhere, so that doesn’t mean much.

A Zimbabwean inventor could change the world.

Not all those villages are poor, even if they don’t have the amenities many of us take for granted. The grid that powers the cities doesn’t stretch to where these villagers live. Why? Well…let’s just blame it on the expense and not bring the other factors into it, shall we? Still, there’s no question it takes a lot of money to build a power grid. And of course, there’s distance. In the U.S., there are plenty of people in rural areas who live off the grid, at least to some extent. Water is drawn from wells on the property. Propane for heat and cooking. They do have electricity, though. The grid does extend that far.

So what do you do if you’re off the grid? You find another way.

Enter Maxwell Chikumbutso, a Zimbabwean who invented a self-powered television. An electronic device he calls an MSED is a self-contained power generator that uses energy harvested from radio frequencies. I saw a pic of the TV. No cords, cables…nuthin’.

“So what?” you say. “My mobile’s cordless, and so is a bunch of other shit I have.”

Nope. All have power supplied by a rechargeable battery. Key word here is “rechargeable.” And how do you recharge the battery? You stick a plug in an outlet, which has a cord attached, and then you slip the business end into the phone. Or maybe you have a USB that you stick into the USB slot on your computer, which is plugged into a surge protector, which is plugged into a wall. On top of that, rechargeable batteries wear out. They won’t take a charge, and then you have to get new ones. Or you have to buy a new gadget to replace your old one.

None of your shit is truly cordless.

The MSED is.

And then you have your electric generating plants that spew pollution into the air. Nuclear doesn’t, but it carries serious baggage, at least in the U.S. Three Mile Island in 1979, anyone? Later studies concluded the effects of the radiation on people who lived in the area and the environment were nil. Okay, fine. But it sure put a damper on building new plants.¬†

The greenest of the green.

Radio frequencies don’t pollute anything. Totally green. And they don’t have meltdowns, either.

Yeah, there are other sources of green energy, but they have their downsides. Solar works best in places that are sunny more often than not. For hydro, you need a running water supply. Wind, you need an open plain.

Radio frequencies are just out there, everywhere, minding their business, doing their wave thing as they travel along. They can penetrate everything, solid or gaseous. Except rock. They can, but not very well.

And you have to pay for the electricity you use to recharge your batteries.

Radio frequencies are free.

And it’s free at no charge.¬†

Think about that. Free energy. Chikumbutso’s MSED can be scaled up or scaled down, depending on what it’s going to power. Made more efficient in harvesting radio frequencies and converting them into electricity. It can power all your little gadgets. Cars. Buildings. Everything and anything that runs on electricity. No matter where you live. Unless it’s a cave. Then you’re pretty much SOL.

Free electricity.

Tesla would be proud.

The fossil fuel industry will be pissed.

I’ll be laughing my ass off.

So will Chikumbutso.



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