There is a notion that the only sure things in life are that it will end and one will spend a good amount of it paying money to the government under duress (or ‘taxes’ to use the common term).

I would like to add an addendum to this. There is also a point in every life in which one needs a light source of some sort, on which there is not even so much as a match to be had. A situation which can only lead to, at least, a stubbed toe in the very best of times.

Plug powered lights are great but are only useful when the power is on or in fact available. Flashlights can work fine, but it will just figure that the batteries will be dead at the precise moment you need it. Candles, I can hear you shouting and yes, candles can be a very good alternative and was used for centuries before the invention of the light bulb.

On the downside now that we have the light bulb, candles are not the first go to, and even if they are in one’s house, or indeed camping gear, there still needs to be a fire source. Go on, try to find both the candles you know are somewhere in the your house, and a book of matches or lighter, which will still be required for you to at least do a bit of stumbling around in the dark. I dare you.

Not likely to be eaten by a grue


Thankfully, such awfulness has now been cured, or at least greatly undercut by the invention of a lamp that literally runs on salt water. That is correct… a salt water lamp!

Not only useful for sailors on those cold, dark nights at sea, the newly minted Hitachi Maxell’s Mizusion lamp can be of great use to frequent campers, squatters and those who live in the sort of apartment buildings given to blackouts, or are not equipped with electricity to begin with. Which should make the lives of the Amish easier if nothing else.

How this salt water lamp works

Going in the polar opposite direction to most of the recent innovations coming out on a weekly basis, the design of this amazing lamp is based on two ingredients, water and salt. The ingredients then react with the oxygen in the air. The oxygen then acts as a cathode, and the magnesium ‘power bar’ serves as the anode, thus generating electricity

The designers, and true heir to Edison, have worked it out so that this lamp will light up simply from a glass of plain water and two teaspoons of salt.

More specifically the lamp is powered by a battery. Not one of those little metal vials of acid we have all been carrying around for years, but a galvanic cell battery. Nope, I have not heard of them either but they are apparently brilliantly designed little things that run on electrolytes. Such as those found in salt. The water is really mostly just a delivery system.



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Trevor McNeil spent much of his childhood playing video-games on early-form personal computers back when the disks were literally floppy. He attended the University of Victoria, completing a degree in Social Science with a concentration in Technology In Society, while also writing for the campus newspaper. He has written articles for such diverse publications as Humanity Death Watch, PopMatters and Perfect Sound Forever. He is a veteran of numerous “watershed moments” in the history of technological development and firmly believes that Han shot first.


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