Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Wireless energy transmission, via b**** p****r

A shot in the dark, to keep the nighlights running
  [vote for,

I have in mind a purely kinetic power distribution for urban areas.

One central powerplant is in the middle of the city, fires (non-explosive) cannon* balls out to substations. The substations harvest the kinetic energy directly by levers to fire out smaller cannon balls* which then go to the collector on each house.

The cannon balls then fall into a vertical conveyor belt, which is geared to belt feeds to power the household gear, like the washing machine, the compressor on the fridge and could even drive a generator for those who need some need of that "electricity" stuff.

Thought is needed to howitzer trajectories or line of sight, possibly howitzer for the outlying areas. Also the height of the collectors on each house, the cannon balls then could go back to the station by sloped ramps, if you were inclined to do so...

On special occasions, such as the Queens Birthday, Bonfire night or New Years Eve, the cannon balls could be covered in phosphorous or some other light-giving chemical. Or just cutting to the chase and using .50 tracer bullets.

As to the noise, in general peak power usage is daytime, so by midnight it should be possible to be able to take off the ear-muffs and have a conversation. As for health, surely the reduction of UV rays and so lessening of skin cancers outweighs the constant pall of smoke over the city?

* With adjustable rifling, of course.

**Light energy users can negotiate down to .22LR

not_morrison_rm, Apr 19 2015

As seen on Amazon, the short story ver http://www.amazon.c...s=etheric+engineers
[not_morrison_rm, Aug 08 2015]

Fountain technology https://en.wikipedi...wiki/Space_fountain
Look at the near-term applications section [notexactly, Mar 21 2016]

Machine gun powered consumer electronics Prior art [pocmloc, Mar 22 2016]


       This is probably the most idea I have read here for some time.   

MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 19 2015

       //railguns are so much more eco friendly   

       You do have a point, but then we'd get into very tiny items traveling very fast, which would have a lot of air resistance. Also the troughs to get the little buggers to roll back again would have to be steeper (up to a point).   

       I had this idea as a kind of Sherlock Holmes/steampunk/Elder gods wossername story.   

       Suspicious deaths by someone sabotaging the Babbage Engine aiming devices to assassinate people, either to just shoot them, or to overdrive the household vertical conveyor belt so setting fire to the place.   

       All the clues point to Moriarty, who actually is the hero of the piece, to his own embarrassment.   

       But it was just easier to type Wireless power...
not_morrison_rm, Apr 20 2015

       You'd be sure to pay your utility bill. No one would want to piss off a company with that kind of firepower at their fingertips. The dunner notices they could send to the householders would be impressive and sure to get one's attention.
AusCan531, Apr 20 2015

       The problem is that if you go to all the bother to build a system of ramps to return all these balls, you might as well build a wired (or pulley) power system. The projectiles could be returned through the air as well. The power station would launch the projectiles at high velocity and a low parabolic trajectory. Using one of several possible mechanisms at the receiving end, the projectile could be slowed down harvesting some of the energy, before being launched back at a higher trajectory.
scad mientist, Apr 20 2015

       Sounds like a blast.
21 Quest, Apr 21 2015

       I think western Ukraine could use a few of these to stabilize their energy supply if Russia cuts them off. If they overshoot, oh well...
RayfordSteele, Apr 21 2015

       Wouldn't the original cannonballs accumulate at the substations? The real problem here, as I see it, is the difficulty in reusing the cannonballs.   

       Why not use something which the folks out in the periphery already need? Like water, or haggis*. That stuff can be frangible and all has kinetic energy too, when done right. The transmission vehicle would itself have comestible value to the end users.   

       *frozen would be best I think
bungston, Apr 21 2015

       During the siege of Leningrad, sympathisers outside the city walls tried firing chickens and geese (dead, I believe - on arrival if not on departure) into the city from cannon. This worked quite well, until the enemy started firing in chickens and geese laced with strychnine.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 21 2015


       Frangible, but possibly not fungible. Like I don't really need at ATM that can pay out in £, $ or haggis. What about if you only want to draw out 5.25 haggises until payday? Not to mention getting them all mixed up in the night deposit system.   

       // This worked quite well, until the enemy started firing in chickens and geese laced with strychnine.   

       What a fowl trick.   

       Anyway, what is it with this "wireless stuff". Last place I stayed at they had a so-called "wireless router", despite having two wires running into it, one for power and the other one hooked into the phone socket. And looking through the vents, it had loads of wires inside...tch!
not_morrison_rm, Apr 21 2015

       Definitely ice balls. That way you get drinking water, power and refrigeration all from one utility. Unlike normal utilities, there could easily be competition. Just reorient your ice-ball catcher to switch providers. I assume there is enough demand in any one area to require more than one launcher within range of most utility customers.   

       If you etch patterns in the surface of the ice, that can be used to transmit digital images and sound: providing services similar to the traditional cable TV provider, but with a bit more lag on the breaking news channel.   

       Hmm, can the milk man safely embed a jug of milk in the center of the ice? I guess maybe milk and mail could be deliver in projectiles separate from the water
scad mientist, Apr 21 2015

       //During the siege of Leningrad [...]//   

       Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt; "Bluff!"
pertinax, Apr 23 2015

       No, it really happened. Leningrad was besieged for ages. For some reason it wasn't on TV news at the time, but it was in all the papers.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 23 2015

       A good idea elevated to greatness by doubling it up as a haggis distribution mechanism.
calum, Apr 23 2015

       Finally got around to writing the short-story of it...as seen on Amazon...   

       Seriously considering doing a live action video ver, with sock puppets..   

       Fairly obviously 1/2 bakers get free version of the story- ette if you really want to..
not_morrison_rm, Aug 08 2015

       Of all the ideas I've seen on the Halfbakery, this is definitely one of them. [+]
doctorremulac3, Aug 08 2015

       Is the linked really a story about the ice ball engine? Or just some kind of random story linked up as a JOKE? If I am going to the trouble of figuring out how to pay LO.99 I want a story, now.
bungston, Aug 10 2015

       Is it just me that reads //via b**** p****r// as “via Bag Piper”?   

       Also I understand that one needs a General to oversee the officers responsible for munitions handling and operation... but what does the other General do?
pocmloc, Aug 10 2015

       //Is it just me that reads //via b**** p****r// as “via Bag Piper”?   

       It's just you. But, I was thinking of a cross-over with Morris dancing done to bagpipes, just to get all of the uber-uncool activities out of the way in one go.
not_morrison_rm, Aug 13 2015

       I think Morris dancing is cool now. All the uncool stuff has become cool in this new age, I think. I want to think.
bungston, Mar 21 2016


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