Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Everyday Volatiles

Dell Will Recall 4 million batteries

Today in Britain our airport security was relaxed again slightly. Still no liquids allowed, but MP3 players and laptops can once again be carried as hand luggage. So, today's rather disturbing news is in the headline link above.

Dell computer are recalled over 4 million (!) laptop batteries becuase they are prone to "explosion". Now nobody's suggesting any militant Islamist plot here, but just one incident involving a volatile compter on an airplane would be just as devastating as last week's worries.

Such a collosal recall will cost Dell considerably, but one wonders if this is the tip of an iceberg. The offending batteries were actually made by Sony - so who's to say there aren't similar faults in the highly popular "Viao" range and others. The reality is that in the new world of 21st century economic slavery most of these items are manufactured in bulk, in haste, in third-world countries where safety and quality control is less-than-adequately practiced.

The danger in our skies may not be limited to the acts of terrorists, though no doubt any incident would be attributed to them for political purposes. Maybe we should consider these concerns as a wake-up call to reduce air traffic to an expensive minimum and preserve the planet from the huge pollution it creates. Fuelling this industry alone represents a major part of the contemporary energy and resource wars - if we want peace, we should abandon oil!

But that's the art of wishful thinking! At least, until after the crash. Would that we could fly on solar-powered wings or use bike-pedals to power our laptops.


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