There is an advert on telly at the moment for AGL's 175th anniversary, which does an historical pan through of the company lighting gas lamps, selling gas and electric to people's homes, before finally laying out their token green credentials in making reference to their wind farms. The adverts are quite jolly and I do like them but originally I thought that they'd written a jingle for the advert. It turns out not. The song playing is a grab from The Apples In Stereo's song "Energy". The chorus of this song goes:
"And the world is made of energy,
And the world is electricity,
And the world is made of energy,
And there's a light inside of you and there's a light inside of me"
Link : The Apples In Stereo - "Energy"
Nice sentiment I'm sure but lo and behold, it's also true. Here's why:
"And the world is made of energy"
Einstein's general equation of energy is familiar but most people probably don't know what it means. It does not refer to the E=McSquared burger from McDonald's which is a square burger; and the main reason that it does not is because I've only just made that up. If you are reading this McDonald's, I am ready for my royalty cheque now.
Seriously, E=mc2 refers to the amount of energy liberated from mass when it is subject to speeds at the speed of light. (Do this again). The only practical use for this that I can think of is to do with the energy liberated from the atom in a nuclear reactor or bomb. I imagine that if we were able to somehow turn the entire of the earth into one massive nuclear device, then the energy liberated from all that mass would be immense; certainly more than enough to boil your kettle to make a nice cup of tea.
E = 5,972,190,000,000,000,000,000,000,000g x (290,000,000m/s)²
E = 502,261,179,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Joules
Of some interest is the the Greek word "kinema"; from which it is unsurprisingly get our word for moving pictures "cinema". Things that are moving also have energy; it is also not surprising that the energy of moving objects is called "kinetic" energy. Isaac Newton described that energy with a number of equations relating to motion.
The Earth has a mass of 5,972,190,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg. In a year it moves almost 940 million km but in a second it moves at a paltry 30m/s which means that the Earth has a Kinetic Energy of:
If we're talking about phenomenally big numbers like this, then it is true that "the world is made of energy".
"And the world is electricity"
The thing with electricity is that its only one specific way of transmitting energy. The fact that the Earth has both mass and is moving means that there is a potential to change all that energy to electricity but if you've destroyed the earth in the process of its creation, there would scarcely exist the means or point to use it anymore.
Having destroyed the Earth, there then needs to be some point to liberating all that energy. Maybe if we'd ruined the Earth beyond the point of livability then that might have some utility in powering a battle star type object but until that day, this is all a bit too dreamy for me.
"And there's a light inside of you and there's a light inside of me"
There is enough fat even in a skinny human at least to power a small oil lamp. Personally I'm not prepared to want to undertake such a task but I imagine that the thought might have occurred to Lawrence Oates on his disastrous trip to the South Pole.
I once saw a documentary on the truly bizarre phenomenon of spontaneous human combustion in which for as yet undetermined reasons, a living or dead person which just burst into flames.
Anyway, the point of the AGL advert was to attract new customers to that company and buy their electric and gas. I personally don't reality care through whom my electric comes as long as its clean and no-one else has used it. I simply can not abide with getting used electric.
In the mean time, I hope that no-one including AGL has decided to wantonly destroy the earth in making electricity or burning people, though they do mention in the advert that they've invested over $3 billion in renewable energy generation.
Maybe it could be that The Apples In Stereo are onto something... AGL has been burning people since the 1980's...
RUN FOR THE HILLS!