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Saturday, September 12, 2009 

Hair, wonderful hair

A teenager in rural Nepal has figured out a way to potentially cut the cost of solar panels by 75%: Human hair instead of silicon. At first he was just thinking of his village, but now he's thinking a bit more global. After all, if the hair is good for a few months, that means that even in remote, developing areas people will have grown the replacement parts necessary by the time their solar panel stops working. Properly distributed, I have to say it sounds like this could actually be a pretty significant step forward.

That sounds soooo cool! I mean, I don't know if I necessarily want people's hair being farmed out for energy in some horrible dystopian nightmare, but there could totally be some sort of a barber-shop/ energy industry link that nobody has ever thought about... until I guess right now? Go to your barbershop, the hair you lose, instead of being THROWN away, gets sent to a hair-factory and the barbers who do this get energy-discounts. It's a pretty interesting business idea. And people get haircuts rather regularly. It's a renewable source.

Yeah, I think that's part of what he was imagining... and even better, even in really remote parts of the world, as long as you've got people using electricity, you've got people growing replacement parts.

Okay, that sounded gruesome, but the replacement parts were going to get cut off anyway, which is the genius of the thing.

This is old news, debunked a long time ago. Sorry!

Ah, shit. If it sounds too good to be true, etc etc. Thanks for the correction!

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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