Crank Radio Gets Good Reception: The battery, mankind's most expensive source of energy, is being challenged by one of its least expensive -- elbow grease. BayGen (USA) have invented a crank-up radio that needs no batteries. A 20-second, 60-crank play lasts 40 minutes. The radio receives FM, AM and shortwave.

The bulk of BayGen's market has been Africa, where batteries are not so readily available and where a small radio is often a mainstay of daily life. For an African farmer whose per capita income might range from $500 to $5,000, operating the no-battery radio represents a huge, long-term savings.

BayGen's biggest customers have been relief agencies, such as the British Red Cross, that stockpile radios at strategic points in the event of famine or catastrophe. The six-pound radio will sell in the U.S. for about $99 retail.
Source: Journal of Commerce.


Treasure hunters find 350-year old lumber at the bottom of Lake Superior, Wisconsin. Discovered by explorer and entrepreneur Scott Mitchen, the low oxygen content and frigid temperatures of the Lake have preserved the wood for over a century. There are probably millions of logs of the Lake's floor, left there when they sank so long ago -- while waiting to be milled.

A good sized red oak from today's forest might be worth as much as $400. Milled into raw lumber, it could sell for more than $1,000. Shaved into veneer, the value climbs to four times that or even more. But what the older logs might eventually be worth is a matter of conjecture. The trees are gone. There is no current supply of wood of this quality. Craftsmen who build everything from furniture to violins have said they are willing to pay anything for it.

Mr. Mitchen says, "We're not cutting down any old-growth forests. We're not endangering any spotted owls. We're not depleting the rainforests. The wood is totally PC. Any environmentalist has got to love it."
Source: The Washington Post.