Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Little Things Do Something Big

Recently (late April, I think) students from the Tokyo Institute of Technology succeeded in flying an ultra-light airplane a distance of 391 metres (1,283ft). What’s so remarkable about that feat? Nothing, really, until we learn that the airplane was powered only by standard AA household batteries. Read on to find out how many.

The AA battery has replaced the D and C cells in volume of sales in recent years … mainly due to the personal electronics industry. The first portable transistor radios I remember used 9-volt batteries. The Sony Walkman began the current (no pun intended) AA trend more that 20 years ago. Nowadays, even full-size flashlights are as likely to be designed for AA battery power as they are for D or C batteries. Do you remember when, in order to get a decent amount of light out of a flashlight, it had to be one that required that huge 6-volt brick (or at least the smaller 6-volt brick)? AA batteries used to be only for toys, and for wimpy ones at that. Not any more. Modern advances in LED technology can deliver a lot of light from a compact, AA-powered flashlight. The AA battery has become the industry standard for commercial applications as well (e.g. our new wireless microphones).

By now you’re probably thinking, “He usually has a point, even if it is a lame one,” and you’re right. It may be lame (and I may edit it several times before I give it to you on Wednesday night), but I do indeed have a point.

Would you care to hazard a guess as to how many batteries it required to power that plane? It weighed just 44kg (about 95lb) and was piloted by a student weighing 63kg (about 135lb). It only flew for about a minute, and not very fast, but remember it was powered only by AA batteries. Certain applications draw more current than others, and few things draw more current than an electric motor (as was obviously used to turn the plane’s propeller). But it did fly!

OK, I’ve teased you long enough. How many AA batteries did they use? 160. That’s all. I thought it would have required more.

So what’s the point? The point is this: as an individual you may feel that you are only one, and that your voice is not very strong. You may feel that it doesn’t matter a whole lot whether you are here or not. But just as many small batteries joined together to fly an airplane the distance of 4 football fields, when many small voices join together in a choir, the message of the truth of God can be transmitted beyond our imagination. Never confuse apparent size or strength with significance. And never assume that your small voice doesn’t make a huge difference.

That’s enough to think about for now.


Blogger Charles said...

Add my "watch battery" to the stack. I've taken a licking but I keep on ticking!

How are things my old friend? Come on over and see me at

8:30 PM  
Blogger Morris said...

You gots a blog??? Nicee! Great to see you after all these years.

1:47 PM  

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